We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sat 9 Jan 2010 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

School of thought

Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) section manager for facilities design Alberto Treves discusses some exciting new plans to build schools in Abu Dhabi.

School of thought

Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) section manager for facilities design Alberto Treves discusses some exciting new plans to build schools in Abu Dhabi.

What are your future plans for the construction of education establishments in Abu Dhabi?

We will build thirty schools in the next thirty years and we have plans to renovate about 15 schools each year. We are using three model designs, which we are adapting to different geographies and building configurations. We are also introducing new types of classrooms that didn't exist before, such as music rooms, and expanding the use of the libraries - we will have libraries on wheels that can move to different parts of the school. The first phase of the programme will see the construction of 18 schools starting in June.

When will construction tenders be released?

We are now in the middle of the design process and we expect to finish some time in March. We will call for construction bids immediately afterwards and we expect the [first phase of] schools to be ready in September, 2011. Of course, these are not the last group of schools we are going to build - we will carry on with more designs and construction projects.

How has Adec progressed since its establishment in 2007?

We have created something from nothing. Before, the schools were very small and dark and were designed for a unidirectional way of teaching. We felt that these types of classrooms were not practical so we hired consultants from around the world and had very intensive discussions with the local authorities who decided to adopt our new ideas. We are determined to carry out these concepts.

What makes building a school different from any other project?

It is imperative to engage with local communities when building a school. Discussions with the teachers, school administrators and of course, the students is also very important when it comes to constructing a school.

Why is there such a high demand for schools in Abu Dhabi?

There is a high demand for three reasons. One is because of the growth of the population, two because new educational ideas need to be adapted and finally, buildings are getting old and we need to replace them.

How sustainable will the new schools be?

We believe that the better we design the schools the longer their life-cycle will be. It is better to invest money in good quality systems and materials. We are adopting a lot of sustainability concepts and we want to achieve three pearls with the Estidama rating system for all the schools we build. We are in partnership with the Urban Planning Council and Estidama to write our own rating systems for schools. This will happen in the next couple of months.

How will you achieve three pearls?

We will need to reduce the consumption of energy and water and recycle materials. Also we are encouraging the teachers and students to change their behaviour because sometimes they leave the classrooms with the lights on and the blinds open or they open a window when the air conditioning is on.

What challenges have you faced with your plans so far?

It is an innovative process and we have to work through some resistance. People are not always open and ready for new ideas but we have received good feedback and we are excited about getting to where we want to be.

Treves graduated as an architect from the University of Buenos Aires, and has contributed to the planning and designing of educational facilities for over 20 years. His projects span through the Americas, to Eastern Europe and Africa. Specifically in the Middle East, he has been involved in school design projects in Jordan, Gaza and Abu Dhabi. He is currently the manager of the Design Section of the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.