26 September 2022
The New Misk Schools Campus
Following a major international competition in 2020, Design Engine were commissioned as design lead and delivery co-ordinator of a brand new campus with the capacity for 1000 students. The new Misk Schools campus is made up of nine schools, supported by admin and sports facilities. The scheme represents a key part of the new Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Nonprofit City – the first non-profit city in the world.
This project delivers equal facilities for both genders. Children begin their education at Kindergarten age, charting a journey through lower and upper primary schools, and on to middle and senior schools.
Supporting the schools are three professional style auditoria that can seat up to 850, and an exhibition gallery for cultural showcases. The campus will also contain 25m and 50m Olympic swimming pools, a sports hall with 12 multi-purpose courts and a gymnastics hall. Outside will feature two FIFA standard synthetic grass pitches and a 400mm Olympics athletics track.
The group of schools has been designed to create a unique and wholesome sense of community with appropriate segregation of genders between the middle and senior schools, whilst the kindergarten and primary schools are designed with their own set of requirements and functionality in mind. The whole site is combined as one through a series of considered externally designed spaces, blending indigenous and familiar hard and soft landscape treatment appropriate to student learning and the delivery of the education programme.
The Schools are organised on the site to create a collegiate structure reminiscent of world renowned education facilities, yet subtly reflects the historic urban fabric typical of the region. Each school has then been developed to make best use of the sloping site, creating five distinct plateaus which are then connected by formal and informal landscaping. The site for the school is set to the edge of the wider city masterplan, with the terrain and topography flowing generally from west to east towards the Wadi Hanifa. The proximity to the Wadi park underpins the landscape ethos of living and learning in the natural world. The connections from the school landscape to the Wadi are considered integral to the design, with distant views from higher ground and physical connections from the lower ground out into the landscape.
Outdoor spaces within the school are intended to have the potential for different uses and character, from tranquil, restful and contemplative to engaging, enlightening and educational to active and stimulating. The arid landscape of the area is rich in culture and heritage, which will provide inspiration for the proportions of spaces, their orientation and juxtaposition, to enable air flow and to design with shade, to create tempered environments. The use of local materials such as stone, gravel and mud walls create connections throughout time and culture and are distinctly of their place.