The site for the new Economics Faculty Building is in the west central area of the Nasar campus; to the north of the new east-west piazza proposed in the approved Master Plan; and opposite the site for the new Law Faculty Building. The site slopes slightly upwards to the north. The sunken courtyards of the proposed piazza provide opportunities for lighting to the lower ground floor and for lower ground floor links through the sunken courtyards to the new Law Faculty Building. Road access is at the east end of the site. These Master Plan controls have all influenced the configuration of the plan
The design proposes a concise resolution to a brief for a large and complex building, working to ODAC’s vision of an internationally recognised important facility. A simple plan and form, to ensure maximum flexibility, is contemporary in look whilst up-holding the key tenets of the Islamic tradition in the design. All vernacular architecture generally reflects a profound understanding of how to design structures that work within a given set of climatic conditions. Nowhere is this truer than in North Africa and Arabia where the buildings reached a level of sophistication that has rarely been matched anywhere else in the world, and where designing for the climate was both fundamental and intrinsic to the design. In fact the devices which developed over centuries to increase the building’s efficiency as a climate filter we believe have become in themselves symbols of Islamic architecture as much as the minaret or the muqarnas. Many of the techniques that the west are currently adopting in an effort to provide more energy efficient buildings have been used in the Islamic world for centuries – thermal mass, passive solar gain, natural cross-ventilation, sun shading a etc. All these principles have been adopted in the design of the Economics Faculty along with many of the traditional architectural devices that have been developed so successfully in this context such as the courtyard, the colonnade/arcade, the veranda/loggia and the gallery.
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