ARC 501 desert dwellings project on display

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An ARC 501 project on display at the AUS Library until late March showcases different housing designs designed for desert living (SALAMA AL MAHRI PHOTO).

By Salama Al Mahri 

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – An Architecture 501 city block project on display on the second floor of the American University of Sharjah’s library promotes adaptability as its students learn to design for a world undergoing climate change.

According to Camilo Cerro, an associate professor at the College of Architecture, Art and Design and instructor of ARC 501, the project transforms the typical compounds in the United Arab Emirates by removing the walls and creating privacy through nature to encourage community. 

He added that the buildings are self-sufficient and equipped with technologies that generate their own water, food, and energy. 

The nine structures are aligned to simulate a row of houses, each showcasing a different design.

Cerro said that the plan was to produce residences designed for desert living. 

“A lot of the developments in the UAE are western houses transplanted here and fail to function properly in the desert,” he said. 

Christine Furno, an engagement and outreach librarian, said the project will be displayed until late March.