Dubai, the City of Dreams. The unprecedented planned growth in Dubai has not remained an isolated phenomenon. It is causing a rippling effect, spawning cascading changes in the nooks and corners of the city.

By Vijay Dandige (Contributor)

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Published: Sat 11 Jun 2005, 12:55 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:20 PM

Organisations that existed serenely in their cocoon-states for years are now suddenly finding themselves galvanised into thinking up bigger roles.

Take, for example, the German School. Founded in Sharjah almost 30 years back, the school has been providing German education to about 50 students, children of German expats who were then mostly concentrated there. A non-profit organisation, the school has existed on a small grant from Germany and its own generated funds through fees.

Since five years back, the school has found its admissions growing each year. "Owing to the tremendous growth of Dubai, we've been expanding almost double every year," said Lars Oliver Pampel, chairman of the German School Board. "Last year, owing to lack of space, we opened our branch in Dubai." But now, according to Pampel, the school is expected to cope up with even more pupils. The German-UAE bilateral relations on every front are on the upswing. The German Chancellor visited the UAE twice in recent months, indicating how significantly the German government regards the UAE.

Pampel pointed out that there are over 500 German companies in Dubai, and many of them are expected to grow as they are presently in their nascent stage. "This means more and more highly-qualified Germans are going to arrive in Dubai. And their decisions would be influenced by whether quality German education is available for their children here or not. So, we are now working to meet their expectations," he explained. "As it is, we now have over 300 students every year."

With the expected on rush of pupils, the Board has now decided to build new school in the Academic City. To be initially designed for up to 600 students, leaving room for further expansion, the new school is expected to be complete by September 2006 and will offer Secondary I and Secondary II German education, including kindergarten. Although the original Sharjah institution will continue for the Germans stationed there, the Dubai school will function as the main organ.

In keeping with its projected plans, the German School organised a special workshop the other day at its premises in Al Mawakeb School, Al Barsha in Dubai. During the workshop, three local and international design studios submitted their architectural design schemes for the proposed new school, and a specially put together committee reviewed those schemes. The committee comprised Walter Leuchs, German Consul General in Dubai, Dr Jihad Awad of Ajman Univesity, Dr Gisele Loehein and Dr Kevin Mitchell, professors of American University in Sharjah, Dr Dieter Stanik, principal of German School and the Board chairman Pampel himself. The Board has appointed Trend Capital Consulting as a project manager for the intended project.

Speaking about the workshop, Pampel said, "Our plot is more than 45,000 sq mt, and we want to show the German features and standards in the building design. At the same time, we want to show our appreciation of our hosts by incorporating Arabic features in the design. We have specifically invited three young and new companies because we want fresh ideas." He, however, pointed out that the workshop's idea is not to have a finished detailed design of the building, but only to open the way for new thinking and concepts to emerge. The three companies invited to submit their designs included Starwalls, a new German company and Centinetercube and X Architects, two architectural firms recently started by UAE nationals.

During the workshop, Ahmed Ebrahim, architect director of X Architects, a Dubai firm started only last year, unveiled his design, The Knowledge Park, for the new school and explained the basic concept behind it. "We have mixed German and the UAE elements to create a new design," he said.

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