Zayed University, New CampusAl Habtoor Murray and Roberts

Abu Dhabi’s Zayed University, funded by Sheikh Zayed as part of a programme to establish world-class tertiary education in the Gulf region, was the first new university campus to be completed by Pascall+Watson.

The university offers exceptional facilities for 6,000 students, including a sports hall, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, catering, administration, a library and the largest convention centre in the Middle East. A bold, contemporary approach to the architecture provides a series of dramatic individual buildings that combine to give the university a distinctive identity, establishing the framework for future phases.

The location, in the desert on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi City, offered very little context. So to give the campus a sense of place, its central buildings were arranged around a spacious courtyard and framed by an elaborate undulating solar shading device. While the complex geometry of this central area meant that it had to be built in situ, the majority of the 26 buildings on the campus were prefabricated for speed of erection.

Value: Undisclosed