Gulf University Bahrain

A high ambition and an innovative education strategy don’t always match the building. This is the case for Gulf University located near Manama, the capital of Bahrain.  The 25 year old building is in dire need of an overhaul to unite the GU ambition with their educational environment.  The project has a strong research based foundation that started with an week long workshop with all the users of the university building, including the most important users: the students. The efforts and results of the workshop created the core of a research on the topic of a 21st century campus environment. What skills should a student posses when they walk out to face the world? And what effect does this have on the educational environment? Before cc-studio started the redesign of the campus, the research results, a combined effort of cc-studio and Gulf University teachers, was published and presented during the INTED2017 educational conference in Valencia, Spain.

cc-studio came with an minimal effort, maximal effect strategy that enabled to redesign both the interior as well as the exterior of the university. The exterior redesign respects Bahrains extreme climate using a tensile structure to limit the need for airconditioning. This in terms creates a 20 meter high canvas that shares the universities educational findings with its surroundings.

For the interior design the main two objectives are to integrate and increase informal learning, giving open spaces with informal atmospheres a prominent place. By opening up the darkest place of the building with a green and light filled atrium, the informal learning spaces surrounding it become visible throughout the university. The light from above creates a pleasant work environment that doesn’t need artificial light. On the ground floor the atrium has a green base by the added indoor garden with a large seating area surrounding it.

A look into the new atrium connecting all floors

The hidden staircases have been opened up to the open spaces and treated as big transportation sculptures.

The staircase becomes a sculpture in open space

Opening up the inside of the building creating open plan informal learning spaces

Communal spaces such as seminar rooms as wel as the universities most advances education rooms have a prominent place facing the atrium. Glass wall offer a glimpse in the universities innovative and hands on approach.

A look into the media studio opposite the atrium

Connecting all floor by opening up the atrium