Education facilities in the GCC have improved dramatically due to government investment and the involvement of top architects, according to a specialist education contractor.
Speaking to Middle East Architect, Miceal Sammon, CEO of Sammon Group, said: “Education buildings in the region have taken a huge leap forward.
“The vision of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) is world class and it is producing phenomenal buildings designed by the likes of Broadway Malyan and Dewan.”
Also in Abu Dhabi, Aldar Academies has delivered six high-spec schools, including Al Bateen Secondary School (pictured), designed by Dewan.
Sammon continued: “Saudi Arabia is following suit. It has moved education to the front of its priorities, but it needs expertise. The country has committed to build 10,0000 schools.”
He added that, globally, there is now an appetite for architects to design school projects. “There’s a real opportunity for architects. Nobody will ask you to build a school project and not pay you. They are commissioned by good clients which are often visionary.”
Aside from the financial draw, Sammon stated that school design is no longer viewed as “boring” by architecture firms. “We now have some of the best architects in the world designing schools. It wasn’t the case at all before. Previously they might have a school or two hidden in their portfolio. Now architects are proud to show their achievements in education.”
A recent example of quality school design is the UK’s Evelyn Grace Academy, by Iraq-born Zaha Hadid. Earlier this week, the Brixton school won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize for 2011.