Modelling Effective Use of Interim Campus at New York University Abu Dhabi

Modelling Effective Use of Interim Campus at New York University Abu Dhabi
New York University, Abu Dhabi
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Data driven research and analysis to model effective use of current interim campus and the future timetabling, resources and real estate needed in the new permanent campus under construction.

In November 2007 the New York University, Abu Dhabi was announced as the first elite, comprehensive liberal arts, sciences, and engineering university in Abu Dhabi to be operated by a leading American research university.

In December 2009 the first interim campus was dedicated in downtown Abu Dhabi and classes started in 2010. By 2014, 2,400 people were living and working on the new and purpose built Saadiyat Island campus covering nearly 40 acres.

The Challenge

The Abu Dhabi Government had invested significantly in providing interim facilities for New York University Abu Dhabi whilst their permanent campus was being constructed on Saadiyat Island. NYUAD required a space management plan to accommodate their program within these limited interim facilities while their new campus was being built.

Anticipated changes and overall strategic planning in the overall programme of the construction of the new campus resulted in the interim facilities needing to be in available for an additional twelve months. The issues were exacerbated due to a planned rapid increase in student enrolments. There was understandable concern from the university that the interim facilities would not be able to cope with the larger student population in the interim campus.

The Solution

EventMAP software was employed to determine whether the teaching rooms, labs, research space and staff offices were sufficient to meet their increased program needs. We undertook iterative modelling of the curriculum to enable NYUAD and the government to understand the critical choke points and impact of the growing the student population. This included the analysis of capacity restrictions on the Interim Campus, the development of a web based interactive timetable for collecting and viewing data to scenario student groupings, and any resource blockages in timetable.

The timetables developed for students adhered to the curriculum structures of NYUAD, including inclusion of extracurricular activities such as community engagement, sports and recreation. The timetables for staff also ensured that sufficient time was available for research and other critical academic engagement. In addition, the detailed review of teaching space provision on the planned Saadiyat Island Campus was undertaken to project maximum student numbers and the development of full schedule of accommodation needed for new site, accurately informing the required real estate needed.

The Benefits

Implementing EventMAP software meant the university were able to deliver a solution where the university optimised its space usage and timetable so that there were no compromises to the quality of staff and student experience, despite an increase in enrolments during that time in the interim campus.

Traditional architect methods of calculating space requirements had been undertaken before EventMAP were engaged that showed additional facilities and real estate were going to be needed in the new campus over and above the original concept design. However, EventMAP demonstrated via the modelling of the actual curriculum and teaching space (even with increased student numbers) that the university could save the significant projected additional capital and operational costs that they were planning and therefore did not need to invest in additional built infrastructure. As a result, our engagement negated significant capital and ongoing operational costs for the university without any loss of quality of the learning experience for staff and students.

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As Project Director for the client on this project the use of the EventMAP modelling tools were a great and necessary benefit to the final design and construction of the purpose built new NYUAD campus. As a client and the primary funding source of the new campus this enabled us to ensure that the campus was not only built to what was needed but also allowed it to be future-proofed for the years ahead. It also allowed us to design in flexible teaching spaces, along with the required support spaces that could be used to accommodate an evolving timetable and student population, this alone allowed for significant savings on operational costs during the ramp up of the campus to full capacity and ensured we didn’t over or under build. The key to the success of any asset is to ensure that it is actually designed and built to meet the end user’s needs otherwise the project has failed – the use of EventMAP’s tools were both innovative and essential to achieving a successful outcome that has proven to be resilient over time.

Andrew Ford
Client Director, New York University Abu Dhabi
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