Italian and UAE universities to collaborate on joint design research for project at Mina Zayed | Design

Emilee Geist

Abu Dhabi’s industrial port in the focus of joint research between Italian Universita’ Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM) and Zayed University in Dubai. For the autumn semester 2020, UNIVPM architectural engineering course ‘Architectural Design for the Enhancement and Conservation of the Architectural Heritage,’ led by Prof. Gianluigi Mondaini and doctoral researcher […]

Abu Dhabi’s industrial port in the focus of joint research between Italian Universita’ Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM) and Zayed University in Dubai.

For the autumn semester 2020, UNIVPM architectural engineering course ‘Architectural Design for the Enhancement and Conservation of the Architectural Heritage,’ led by Prof. Gianluigi Mondaini and doctoral researcher Cristiano Luchetti will collaborate with the ZU/CACE course ‘Interior Design Studio II,’ taught by Dr. Basem Eid M and Prof. Rund Hiyasat.

The two academic institutions will share lectures, common reviews, and a final exhibition of students’ projects at the end of the semester. The theme of the two courses will focus on Abu Dhabi and the areas, buildings, and infrastructures of the port.

Commercial Interior Design Awards 2020 judge Cristiano, who is also an adjunct professor of architecture at Heriot-Watt Dubai, says Mina Zayed is one of the most crucial zones in the future transformation of the Emirates’ capital urban context.

Mina Zayed, which is already home to arts hub Warehouse 421 designed by Danish firm BIG, will be explored from an architecture and design perspective through lectures and reviews of by prominent members of the regional industry, including Anna Cornaro (chair of architecture American University in Dubai), Richard Fenne (regional executive chair Woods Bagot), Ahmed Khadier (design partner Pragma), Apostolos Kyriazis (assistant professor Abu Dhabi University), Islam El Mashtooly (design director Croquis), Andy Shaw (chair RIBA Gulf Chapter), Marco Sosa and Lina Ahmad (chair and assistant chair CACE Zayed University) and Steven Velegrinis (head of master planning AECOM).

Discussions will revolve around how the dismissal and dislocation of industrial activities from the city’s central areas poses the question of inserting new urban meanings while seeking a comprehensive integration with the surrounding context.

Redevelopment of the wider Mina Zayed area, including its traditional markets, was approved in February 2018 by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.The redevelopment includes a new marina, a cultural quarter around the arts centre, Warehouse 421, and an overhaul of the traditional markets.

The course postulates that a unique site like Mina Zayed requires a specific design strategy to address urban re-qualification in the scenario of a contemporary ‘global’ metropolis.

The challenge is to conceive sustainable urban and architectural solutions for the new proposed functions that will contribute to the area’s future transformation, while keeping some distinctive cultural characters.

Let’s see what students come up with.

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