The Uninest Student Residences in Dubai, the first private purpose built student accommodation in the UAE and GSA Coral’s first investment into the region, has now been open for business for twelve months.
This bustling property is adjacent to Dubai Academic City which, alongside Dubai Knowledge Village, hosts the majority of the emirate’s eleven international campuses with universities from the UK, Australia, France and the United States among others, providing courses. Some 20,000 students attend the Dubai Academic city higher education cluster.
The building itself was carefully designed with the student’s needs very much in mind, while Dubai’s climate was also an important driver in the architectural planning for this attractive and unique building. To celebrate Uninest Dubai’s first year, we are pleased to share extracts from an article published in Design MENA which includes insight from the architects themselves.
Stride Treglown was the architectural firm behind the Uninest Dubai design and Architect Nigel Craddock explained that the buildings distinctive “H” shape serves two functions.
“The H plan configuration was developed for two reasons firstly – to provide maximum frontage for units within the site constraints as well as flexibility for potential future segregation of students into male and female wings.”
“Secondly it was a push back against the standard ‘doughnut building’ approach on these sort of sites, which result in simple extruded box exteriors. It was instead an exercise in how to provide architectural interest and relief through articulation, and the breaking down of building massing.”
The design called for a rooftop pool
Above ground level, which includes a study and reception area there are 10 floors with a swimming pool on the roof and a gym. The pool was prefabricated and then dropped into place via a crane.
Architect Jess Konsal said: “The rooms are a mix of twin and studio with double width windows to maximize natural light. We have also used vibrant colours for the décor and ensured there are quiet spaces for study and areas which allow the students to interact.”
The scheme is orientated to offer its principal façade, consisting of a staggered fenestrated window arrangement, to the roadside and site entry point.
This main elevation is wrapped and cloaked by an architectural frame which defines the key accommodation, folding up and over the building from the south-east to the north-west façade.
Craddock said: “At roof level, the architectural frames provide shading opportunities to amenity space, namely an external pool and terrace areas, with the extruded lip creating a veil of shade at high sun level down the main building façade.”
The end elevations of the H arrangement are split to form twin vertical components, said the design team
Craddock explained: “To the south-east, components of each wing are fully opaque, ensuring that low level eastern solar gain is minimised. To the north-west, glazing is introduced to the inner section only of both wings to provide an open framed elevation, capitalising on the potential for distant views from communal spaces toward the coast, Dubai skyline, the Burj Khalifa, and the sunset”.
“In addition to the roof-level amenities, outdoor space is offered at first floor level with provision of a north-west orientated terrace. At ground level, the main building entrance and reception is defined by a cantilevered concrete canopy, and the adjacent food and beverage facility is given main street visibility combined with side access through a landscaped garden.”