Mona Abdullah Al Ali, a Masdar Institute Class of 2013 alumna, has been awarded the Design Commission 2016 Competition’s first prize in the ‘healthcare facility’ category for her project titled ‘Enlightenment House’ for its dynamic concept of a sustainable neighborhood community center inspired by the indigenous al qebqab.
Her Excellency Hoda Al Khamis Kanoo, founder of ADMAF, and Suood Al Kharmastiji from Mubadala presented Al Ali with the award for the competition, which was organized by Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) with support from the Mubadala Development Company.
Al Ali’s design was for the extension of a healthcare facility for chronically ill patients and their families. Its look and healing purpose was inspired by the local al qebqab plant, which grows in the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE and is traditionally used to cure rheumatoid arthritis.
“After I came up with the idea of designing the ‘Enlightenment House’ for patients with chronic disease I searched for plants specifically local to the UAE that are used to cure the condition, which I myself have experienced. I found information about the al qebqab plant that has traditionally been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which I incorporated into my design concept,” she said.
Al Ali also incorporated advanced sustainable materials like solar panels and efficient glazing systems in her project to reflect the UAE’s commitment to sustainability.
She said: “The use of solar panels integrated in the rooftop of the project reflects the environmental and advanced technology consideration imbibed in the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 plan. Also, creating livable a urban community within the project helps residents to explore the space and enhance the urban integration between the people and the space.”
Explaining her Enlightenment House project idea, she said she took into consideration the value of creating new urban spaces to give residents the opportunity to explore the space intellectually, emotionally and physically.
Al Ali continued: “The design combines a range of aesthetic stylistic elements spanning space and culture. The surrounding urban walkways feature lush greenery and fountains to a produce natural musical soundscape to provide a holistic and multi-sensory experience that helps patients to relax and relieve their tension.”
Al Ali strongly believes that her experience as an MSc in Engineering Systems and Management student at Masdar Institute played a strong role in helping her design the Enlightenment House concept and believes it will continue to guide her in the future.
“The experience I gained from Masdar Institute is reflected in my design; the knowledge I gained from the specialists in solar photovoltaic systems in the built environment enabled me to integrate sustainability and advance technology into my design, such as the use of solar panels in the rooftop, and the use of high performance glazing systems,” the art and engineering enthusiast explained.
She is confident she can further build on her creativity and talent in designing sustainable architecture. However, she is not waiting for the right opportunity to come by. She has already set up her own business venture.
“Even though I am exploring employment opportunities, I have already established my own designing business where I can use my talent in designing and creating beauty in the space where we live in,” she remarked.
Applicants for the Design Commission 2016 Competition were required to submit a design proposal for a ‘Creativity Zone’ within one of three sectors – a healthcare facility, educational environment, or aeronautical environment. The design of the zone also needed to demonstrate a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math’s (STEAM) educational philosophy inspired by Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030.
9 February 2017