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Thu 22 Jan 2009 04:00 AM

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Student union

Creating connections between design professionals and the Gulf's architecture students with potential

Creating connections between design professionals and the Gulf's architecture students with potential

Sultan Qaboos University, located in Muscat, Oman, is the only public university in the Sultanate. Named after Qaboos bin Sa'id Al ‘Bu Sa'id the Sultan of Oman, the university opened its doors in 1986.

At the time, it comprised six colleges: Engineering, Medicine, Agriculture, Education, Art & Islamic Studies and Science. Currently, the university operates nine colleges with Nursing, Commerce & Economics and Law joining the original six colleges. The number of students enrolled has grown from approximately 500 in 1986 to more than 10,000 in 2005-around half of whom are female students.

The three featured briefs are graduation projects from Hanan Juma Al-Khatri, Khalsa Khalifa Al-Rawahi and Huda Al-Jahwari. The three budding architects and engineers responsible for these projects are students in the College of Engineering's Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering.

The projects reflect a wonderful diversity in size, scope and function and are unique in the myriad styles used and inspirations drawn upon. Architect was granted exclusive rights to publish these projects by the students and Dr. M Alaa Mandour.

Designer:Hanan Juma Al-Khatri

Project:Wadi Al Ain Village

Purpose:Graduation Project

This project's main concern is to initiate a village in the proposed site by providing suitable houses to fit both the societal needs of the Bedouin and cater to climatic requirements. The project is a fully-functioning mixed-use development that has been designed to contain residential space as well as commercial, religious, social, cultural and administrative facilities. The proposed location of the project is located in Wadi Al-Ain in the Hamirat Al-Duru region near the Ibri in A'Dhahira region.

The purpose of this project is fourfold: a) to provide homes for the Bedouin tribes for the purpose of creating a livable and peaceful environment; b) to insure a government presence in the unpopulated region; c) to provide another option for families looking to emigrate into larger urban centres, and; d) to initiate a nuclei for the beginning of a self-contained civilization in the region.

The design concept centres on the mosque, which is located in the middle of the site to indicate its importance. From the mosque, all other activities in the masterplan radiate, grow and extend. For all extension spaces, the mosque represents the starting point.

The site is set in a valley, surrounded by two hills. The project is symmetric around a central axis, which passes through the mosque and the cultural activities areas to indicate their functionality to the village and their importance to the users. All other activities are located on either side of this central axis.

Designer:Khalsa Khalifa Al-Rawahi

Project: Omani Embassy in UAE

Purpose:Graduation Project

The site is located in the embassies district of Dubai, UAE. Near the site stands the American embassy which was designed as a large, strong triangle, which aimed to be larger than any of the surrounding buildings.

In order to showcase the Omani Embassy, its volume should be high and strong when compared to the surrounding buildings. The idea was extracted from the concept of the traditional Omani Towers, which were built to be defensive elements, designed to protect from attack.

The Omani Embassy needs to stand high with its unique and peculiar design that melds together Omani history and modernity.

Designer:Huda Al-Jahwari

Project:Ladies Sports Centre

Purpose:Graduation Project

Recent studies showed upwards of about 5,000 Omani women are involved in different types of sport, but unfortunately there exists no private practice facilities. Therefore, the suggested project was designed to address this increasing need.

The Ladies Sports Centre (LSC) will provide various facilities for indoor and outdoor sports including: swimming, field games (i.e. basketball, volleyball, handball), a skating hall, a bowling hall, several games halls, a multipurpose hall, a fitness hall, a gymnasium, a sauna, a designated area for children including a small kindergarten and a space for social activities (i.e. restaurant, cafeteria, shops, beauty parlour and library).

The basic concept of this rectangular structure is to make use of the golden ratio (1:1.618). It incorporates side lengths that are proportioned according to a golden rectangle. Removing a square can be repeated infinitely and will always result in a smaller, but similar, golden rectangle-this gradation of squares is known as the golden spiral.

Also incorporating a form inspired by the rings of the Olympic Games, the LSC rings were adjusted to become separated squares, connected by suspended corridors or tubes.

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