US urban design students visit UAE


Students from New York’s Syracuse University have been on a design tour of the UAE.

This year 10 students in Assistant Professor Tarek Rakha’s “Sustainable Start Ups in the Desert” studio received a nine-day trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi during spring break, thanks to the generosity of Saudi-based firm El Seif Engineering Contracting Co.

“The Dubai trip was an exhilarating learning medium for Syracuse Architecture students,” said Rakha, who is also a Center of Excellence faculty research fellow.


“Not only did they experience one of the built environment spectacles of the Middle East, but also they presented their projects for feedback from prominent practicing architects and engineers in the region, as well as academic leaders focusing on energy in buildings.”

“What made this trip so memorable for me,” said Rajwa Alseif ’17, “was seeing the students in the studio experience Arabic culture and architecture for the first time. Dubai is very intriguing, having contemporary architecture while also attempting to maintain the traditional beauty of the Arabic culture and history.”

The group also visited Abu Dhabi’s sustainable Masdar City,

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