Architectural students see challenges up close on site visit

Mon, 12 Apr, 2010


Visit by more than 50 students to DAMAC Properties’ Park Towers show challenges of building iconic projects

A group of architecture students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design at the American University of Sharjah have seen for themselves the challenges facing developers and contractors in delivering iconic buildings in Dubai.

Dubai based developer DAMAC Properties played host to the more than 50 third year students and faculty staff at its Park Towers site at DIFC –a twin tower residential project which is due for completion later this year.

During their visit the students got an opportunity to see the challenges in delivering design specifications, working with multiple contractors, balancing budgets and deadlines and also day to day changes in building and design techniques.

The students were accompanied by Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Design Mehdi Sabet and Assistant Professor of Architecture Enrique Martinez, who said the chance to visit a building where construction was now well advanced had been a big benefit for the students in turning lessons on paper into reality.

“This has been a great opportunity for our students - a visit like this is as powerful as many lessons in the classroom. This gives them a chance to see what they are learning put into practice. We are very grateful to DAMAC Properties and its contractors for giving us this chance,’ said Mr. Sabet.

The group of students are about to start their first internship placements with companies in the summer and Mr. Martinez commented that the visit was able to help them better understand the commercial side of their prospective profession.

‘With the continual changes in design techniques and also the extra pressure on developers to deliver residential projects in tighter timescales and budgets we wanted them to be aware of this extra dimension and what they have seen here today will undoubtedly increase their awareness of this,’ he said.

Student Nasab Abu Kheer said: I can see more clearly how much effort it takes from the time that a drawing is produced on paper to construction reaching such an advanced stage as this.’

Fadi Banani agreed adding: ‘This has been so valuable as we can see that there is so much team work to deliver a project – there are different challenges every day and architects must work closely with all the companies involved in a big project like this.’

Park Towers is due for completion later this year and is one of several buildings that DAMAC Properties plans to handover in 2010. Its striking curved glazed facade makes it easy to spot on the DIFC skyline and ultimately the building will house more than 500 luxury apartments. The students were taken to the heart of construction in the basement floors and also took a tour around the planned retail outlets. In addition they were taken to the 22nd floor to see the installation of services such as air conditioning and electricity and finally taken to a show apartment on the fourth floor where they could see the finishing touches being put in place.

John McNamara, Senior Vice President Projects, of DAMAC who hosted the students from AUS, said: ‘We are always keen to support young people who are entering the construction industry – in whatever field they choose.

‘It is meaningful for them to come to a site like Park Towers where they can see for themselves the real challenges of delivering an iconic project and how it is a long process involving many different stages.’