Ten architecture projects by students at Heriot-Watt University


Dezeen School Shows: a project that proposes a combined beachfront cinema and theatre in Dubai is included in Dezeen’s latest school show by students at Heriot-Watt University.

Also included is a house designed according to movements made when figure skating and a recycling centre that uses metal mesh to control the flow of traffic around the space.


Institution: Heriot-Watt University
School: Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society
Course: BA (Hons) Architecture
Tutors: Dr Harpreet Seth, Shameel Muhammed, Dr Rana El-Dabaa and Atousa Aslaminezhad

School statement:

“The BA (Hons) Architecture programme at Heriot-Watt University is a four-year undergraduate degree programme and is accredited by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at part one.

“Based at Heriot-Watt’s global campus in Dubai, the programme benefits from being at the nexus of global, regional and local contexts.

“Strategically placed within the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS), the programme draws expertise from multiple disciplines associated with the built environment.

“The progressive view of the programme towards architectural education encourages ‘Architecture for Change and Impact’, focusing on the pressing need for graduates who are equipped to challenge the status quo in current design practice.

“We advocate a contextually-driven architecture, contributing towards building a regionally and culturally sustainable future.

“We foster critical thinking, effective communication and a lifelong learning mindset, moulding tomorrow’s leaders.

“Our approach is hands-on, with a focus on learning by doing.

“Students are encouraged to take risks and guided by strong professional integrity.

“Students make informed decisions and understand their impact, towards becoming creative learners, thinkers and researchers.

“Our engagement with specialist practitioner-based architects further underscores the potential for students to impact the socio-cultural fabric positively.”


Black and white visualisation of a theatre

Propelled Odyssey: A Theatre Time Vault by Hamza Daaboul

“The Theatre Time Vault, set against the historic Ras Al Khor mangroves, is a tribute to cultural heritage and artistic evolution.

“Enriched with the essence of time, it redefines traditional theatre by creating a dynamic space where past, present and future converge.

“This experiential art centre guides visitors through fragmented theatres, acting as portals to specific time periods, reviving forgotten stories.

“Architecturally, a timeless rectangular spine symbolises a metaphorical timeline adorned with interactive installations capturing pivotal cultural moments.”

Student: Hamza Daaboul
Course: Architectural Design Studio 7
Tutors: Shameel Muhammed and Viineeth T Kannoth


Computer-generated sectional model of a mixed-use building

Easing Edges by Anton Melnikov

“The student housing for Firdaus Studio is a human-focused design that blends cultural and casual activities in a multilayered hub.

“Mitigating tensions is a key concept, addressing harsh environmental conditions and lack of convenient spaces for daily activities.

“The building is divided into four layers, focusing on people and their indoor and outdoor life, which emphasises cooperation and separation through the hierarchical structure.

“Creative spaces and rehearsal areas connect to the street, encouraging inspiration and creation while valuing community and individual wellbeing.”

Student: Anton Melnikov
Course: Architectural Design Studio 5
Tutors: Dr Harpreet Seth and Elli Fragkaki


Sectional visualisation of a large building

Aerial Anchors by Shahnoor Amer

“Through thoughtful consideration of human psychology, architecture becomes not only a physical shelter but also a nurturing haven for the mind and spirit.

“Delving into the notion of release within urban settings, this project reconceives student housing beyond mere residency.

“It encapsulates a sense of liberation through design, offering a refuge for creative expression amidst the cityscape.

“Through the cultivation of shared experiences, residents are encouraged to embrace the rhythm of life.

“By seamlessly blending communal living with artistic expression, the project establishes spaces that facilitate a fusion of freedom and well-being through living architecture.”

Student: Shahnoor Amer
Course: Architectural Design Studio 5
Tutors: Dr Harpreet Seth and Elli Fragkaki


Visualisation of a building with a triangular faceted facade

The Zenith: Living in Unscripted Harmony by Ohireme Uanzekin

“When the elements of raw and spontaneous collide, a balance of dissonance and harmony is encouraged, creating a continuous dialogue between residents’ musical journey and their living spaces.

“With the blend of brutalist elements and magical nuances, aiming to inspire creativity and reflection, a journey is offered through courtyards, gardens and deconstructed spaces, with environments shifting from complex geometries to serene retreats.

“Each space is designed to foster spontaneous inspiration, like improvisational music, culminating in a tranquil sanctuary.”

Student: Ohireme Uanzekin
Course: Architectural Design Studio 5
Tutors: Dr Harpreet Seth and Elli Fragkaki


Sketch model of a play centre

Recycle through Play by Kathleen Prado

“The innovative interactive centre proposes the act of recycling through play where anyone can learn and create through the most basic action: play.

“Situated in Al Quoz, the site presents itself as a playground filled with waste materials.

“By bringing the community inwards, the drive towards sustainability will be put into action.”

Student: Kathleen Prado
Course: Architectural Design Studio 3
Tutors: Dr Rana El-Dabaa, MAK, Dr Mai Karam and Syed Arshad


Various models and diagrams showing a recycling centre

EITRI – House of Metal by Ahmad Fiqry Fuad

“The concept is to create transparency and connections between the recycling process of metals and the visitors to this centre, through a curated experience.

“This will be in the form of a mechanical pod that guides them through the spaces – the metallic mesh is used to guide and envelope the main plaza.

“The mesh also guides the wind and sun into the spaces as it is patterned in a way to open up during winter.

“The mesh form is enclosed by a non-descript warehouse typical of the context, but the organic form just projects out at the entrance to promote curiosity.”

Student: Ahmad Fiqry Fuad
Course: Architectural Design Studio 3
Tutors: Dr Rana El-Dabaa, MAK, Dr Mai Karam and Syed Arshad


Image of an architectural model with a removable roof

CYROLABIRNT by Maya Abu Samra

“CYROLABIRNT embodies the dynamic paths formed by figure skaters on the ice, translating them into a maze-like home.

“Placed in D3, CYROLABIRNT is a piece of art seamlessly blending into the context of the site.

“Inhabitors of this pop-up habitat immerse themselves in the energy and fluidity reminiscent of ice skating.

“Reflecting the graceful movement of figure skaters, cylindrical volumes capture the 360-degree rotations executed on ice.”

Student: Maya Abu Samra
Course: Architectural Design Studio 1
Tutors: Atousa Aslaminezhad, Dr Amira El Hakeh, Dr Kourosh Hajizadeh and Hachiva Parvin


heriot watt dezeen schoolshow dezeen 2364 col 11

Crescendo/Decrescendo by Thant Myint

“Crescendo/Decrescendo is inspired by a favourite hobby: playing the violin.

“Through explorations of a violinist’s spatiality when playing the instrument, a temporary pop-up habitat (situated in a theoretical location within the Dubai Design District) was designed as a space catered for the hobby but also one that could possibly be lived in full-time.

“Additionally, the habitat’s spatial composition is influenced by the form of a violin scroll, with the circular hobby space being the ‘heart’ of the scroll and the enveloping curvilinear living space being the ‘neck’ that extends from the scroll, ‘supporting’ it.

“Two pop-up elements work in tandem, to reveal and conceal the hobby area, depending on whether the inhabitant wants to practice privately or perform publicly, denoted by the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ forms placed in juxtaposition to constitute a structure that transcends between contrasting spatialities.”

Student: Thant Myint
Course: Architectural Design Studio 1
Tutors: Atousa Aslaminezhad, Dr Amira El Hakeh, Dr Kourosh Hajizadeh and Hachiva Parvin


Visualisation showing a billboard-style display showing various images

Pause Moment by Melroy M Carvalho

“The Al Ras district of Dubai, chosen for its bustling energy, reflects the challenges of modern existence, where moments for introspection are rare.

“Conversations with locals uncovered a gap in art awareness, with residents longing for a space to celebrate and connect with their cultural heritage.

“Through the art centre, the project envisions transforming spaces into dynamic hubs, engaging individuals in a journey of discovery while showcasing diverse art forms.

“Storytelling takes centre stage, fostering belonging and connection through innovative designs.”

Student: Melroy M Carvalho
Course: Architectural Design Studio 7
Tutors: Shameel Muhammed and Viineeth T Kannoth


Visualisation of a theatre building that appears to float on the sea

The Fusion of CineTheatric Excellence by Rumman Siddiqui

“This project proposes an art centre in the Kite Beach area of Dubai, in the UAE – a space where cinema and theatre seamlessly merge, exemplifying the harmonious convergence of knowledge and practical experience, inviting every visitor to an uninterrupted narrative journey from the very moment they step inside until the final curtain call.

“The design features expansive ceilings with celestial slits, harnessing natural sunlight to guide visitors through an uninterrupted journey.

“As occupants traverse, they become integral to the immersive experience, illuminated by thoughtfully choreographed bands of light reminiscent of a grand stage.

“The incorporation of natural materials establishes an authentic connection, providing a fertile ground for creative expression.”

Student: Rumman Siddiqui
Course: Architectural Design Studio 7
Tutors: Shameel Muhammed and Viineeth T Kannoth

Partnership content

This school show is a partnership between Dezeen and Heriot-Watt University. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.



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