Established in Abu Dhabi, right at the heart of the city’s diplomatic district, this facility was conceived to support the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry through the education of young diplomats and government leaders. Rooted in Arab tradition and culture, an introverted building was created, with the play of outer opacity and internal transparency serving as a major motif.
The building’s envelope has been designed to combat the harsh elements of the climate, while also representing the nation’s strength. Simplicity of form can be seen in the cubic mass housing both classrooms and offices for staff and faculty. Three portions of the mass extend outward, continuing the solidarity of the building’s shape.
Concerns of sustainability are addressed via a high-performance, double skin façade. These panels diffuse sunlight throughout the interior, without obstructing views. Each side of the building is encapsulated by different perforated panel fold patterns, creating a unique rhythm of shadow and light that evolves throughout the day.
Entry finds a central atrium that is expansive and well-lit, connecting every level. Wood-clad staircases wrap around the perimeter, encouraging movement. The main staircase widens near the student lounge to accommodate open gatherings.