An enthusiastic group of students from Aayojan School of Architecture, Jaipur went on an educational tour of the culturally and architecturally rich United Arab Emirates. Two faculty members accompanied 27 students from the Fifth and Third Years (Batches 12 and 14) on this endeavour.
Right after landing early in the morning at Sharjah on 11 January, the group headed to Etisalat Academy in Dubai, which was to serve as their residence for the coming week. A timely start after breakfast saw the group being bussed to the Dubai Museum, for a cultural and historical introduction to the foreign land, followed by a guided tour of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. A novel experience of travelling by automated, driverless Metro brought them to the expansive Dubai Mall, beside which, towering over everything else in its vicinity, was the Burj Khalifa.
An early start to the second day resulted in breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings from the observation deck of Burj Khalifa at the 124th floor, 442m high. Richard Wagner, an experienced architect from Wanders Werner Falasi Consulting Firm, then led them on an informative tour of Down Town, DIFC, Business Bay and Marina Bay, Dubai. His expertise and knowledge of the buildings and their history was tested with the questions put up by the students. The day ended with a thrilling Dessert Safari on the undulating sand dunes outside Dubai.
Day three saw the group headed towards Burj Al Arab, Nakheel (Palm Jumeirah) and the Atlantis Hotel. An interactive seminar at Nakheel provided insight about the limited beachfront availability in Dubai, and how the process of land reclamation and dredging brought about a revolution by creating real estate opportunities in the Persian Gulf. After a tour of Palm Jumeirah they visited Ibn Battuta Mall, which was a theme mall having decorated squares of different countries like India, China, etc, with interactive performances and architectural styles.
The next day started with a visit to Guinness World Record holder - Miracle Garden, which feature over 45 million flowers in a stunning display of colours and designs. A visit to IKEA furnishing store was a rich experience in interior designing ideas and products. The evening was taken up by dinner on a Dhow Cruise - chugging up and down the Dubai Creek while enjoying a dance performance under the stars, with the lit up skyline of Dubai on either side.
The students were left free to explore the city on the last day, before departing from Sharjah. The flight was delayed by 10 hours due to inclement weather in Jaipur, but it didn't dampen the spirits of the students who returned with troves of knowledge and ideas, after seeing miracles in the field architecture.