Dubai: University named among top 10 'quirkiest' college campuses

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai’s Innovation Centre has been recognised for its creative, avant-garde design


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Tue 4 Oct 2022, 12:02 PM

Last updated: Tue 4 Oct 2022, 3:14 PM

A university in Dubai has been named among the ten Quirkiest College Campus designs in a recent listing by American magazine, Newsweek.

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai’s Innovation Centre, which is the centrepiece of the University’s new campus in Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), has been recognised alongside structures across the globe for its creative, avant-garde design.

Built with an overarching theme of interactive learning, the DSO campus was conceptualised as a bitboard, with the Innovation Centre representing the glass piece that makes the whole grid operational.

Shedding light on the building’s concept RIT Dubai President, Dr Yousef Al-Assaf, opined, “The campus is built on four pillars – innovation, smartness, sustainability and connectivity – and we needed a signature building with a unique design to help connect these principles. The Innovation Centre was positioned at the heart of the campus such that all our activities rotate around innovation, and this is demonstrated to visitors through the unique building design.”

The Innovation Centre was inaugurated in November last year by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, as part of the official opening of the new 129,000 meters square campus development.

Assaf adds, “No matter where they are on campus, all students, faculty, and industry partners are constantly rotating around the Innovation Centre, making it the focal point for all of our operations, underpinned by sustainability, which is embedded in our fabric as RIT.”

Quoting architect and designer, Frank Gehry, who developed the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the Newsweek article credits the Innovation Centre among those developments that reflect how “Architecture should speak of its time and place but yearn for timelessness.”

The write-up discusses how unconventional campus designs can offer students different perspectives in their educational experience.

Featuring project development, analysis, and testing space, the Innovation Centre can accommodate around 200 people.

It is the base for the University’s on-going research initiatives involving robotics and autonomous vehicles, and also hosts local technology companies, including global leaders in sustainable buildings, Johnson Controls.

DJ Armin, Managing Partner of Zas Group of companies who developed the design says, “We set out to create a showcase design that was both multi-functional on the inside and striking from the outside. Our team of designers, master-planners, and technician explored several options centred on the core theme of innovation in order to establish the final design, which evolved and refined as the building took shape. We are very happy with the final results and proud to see this international recognition for the design.”


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