Site Visit: Arcadia Global School

While we may think we know a space or building that we have been working on for many months, the reality of a site visit shows us that the actual space looks and feels a lot different to what we imagined.

My first visit to the upcoming Arcadia Global School in Al Furjan last week was a valuable experience and really highlighted the need for functional design.

Visiting the site helped impress the need for a collaborative design process in the office and the importance of accounting for all of a building’s functioning and not just its users. This includes allowing for the MEP spaces, not just at floor area but also in terms of room height too. Paying attention to every layer of detail while designing ensures a good execution of design on-site and less delay during construction. It is the details that help translate the plans for the construction workers.

Walking around the site, we got to see the different stages of the buildings that make up the new school. The web of scaffolding required to hold the atrium was impressive and completely logical – it reminded me of Revit’s wireframe interface. And I thought the colour band idea that runs from the classroom door through the classroom is a great zoning reference feature. I also loved the skylight in the shared washroom between the primary classrooms. These areas of light really do open up the building and flood the space with lots of natural light.

This new school will cater to primary and secondary education. The primary school block is a G+2 floor building that is designed to house students from grade one to six. It features 84 classrooms including labs, a dance studio, music rooms and a dining space.  Most of the primary school is laid out on the ground floor with well-connected spaces from classrooms and corridors to washrooms and open play areas, and it was useful to see just how this works in reality.

Site visits provide an interactive learning experience that allow us to better understand the construction process by relating concepts obtained in the office environment with the real-world setting of a live construction site.  Site visits give us a valuable insight into the construction of a building and helps us to understand how taught theoretical principles are applied in practice.


By Abigail Kurian, Architect Intern