Kuwait University Model School
Sabah Al-Salem University City
Square Footage: Conditioned space - 416,412sf; Exterior programmed space - 250,000sf
WAN Award - Education Sector, 2012
World Architecture News
The Kuwait University Model School is the cornerstone for primary and secondary education in the new Sabah Al-Salem University City. As an educational facility for the community's 700 kindergarten through 12th grade children and the university's own students at the nearby College of Education, the Model School's primary mission is to research, test and advance teaching modalities, creating excellent 21st century educational paradigms for its students. This dual environment provides an ideal launching point for exemplary teaching practices, an ethic of evaluation and evolution and an environment for educational innovation.
One of the core principles of the project's design is extending learning to the spaces outside of the classroom, reaching out to climatic environments that typically go untapped in the harsh desert climate. A series of advanced sustainable agricultural processes allows us to achieve two proposed, highly linked outcomes: the re-fertilization of desert land and the education of its future stewards. These young stewards, if taught properly, will inherit and be well positioned to heal the landscape through appropriate agricultural practices.
Site strategies include use of nanoclays to retain soil moisture; gray- and black-water recycling to irrigate the land; bio-diverse selection and co-location of on-site flora and fauna to enrich the land itself; and shelterbeds/woodlots to shield against the desert winds. Educational strategies include the creation of a robust environmental observation and stewardship curriculum that extends learning from the classroom to the outdoors with a variety of active gardens, hands-on laboratories, reading terraces and weather stations.