RGS, The Hard Hat Tour!
24 November 2020
On what promises to be one of Dubai’s most spectacular new residential developments, Tilal Al Ghaf, the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai (RGS Guildford Dubai) is rising fast.
The Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai is the result of a partnership between Cognita (one of the world’s largest school groups) and the Royal Grammar School Guildford, a UK independent school first founded in 1509. The new campus has been designed by international architecture practice, Bogle Architects.
As we travel along Hessa Street on a busy weekday morning, we scan the horizon wondering how long it will be before we spot the Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai (RGS Guildford Dubai). The answer is… Not long! While the school is located on developer Majid Al Futtaim’s Tilal Al Ghaf development, it is also within striking distance of Victory Heights, Dubai Sports City and Motor City. Passing the Motor City branch of Waitrose supermarket on our left, and noting just how handy the local amenities will be, we see cranes and what can only be a school campus a little further along and to our right.
Arriving at the construction site, and donning our WSA hard hats, steel capped boots and high-vis vests we enter the site offices for a warm welcome and an incredibly thorough safety briefing. We have to note that, of all the building sites we have visited on our Hard Hat Tours, the attention to our safety and welfare provided by the contractors here is absolutely second to none.
The area currently occupied by site offices and car parking will eventually be the school’s football pitch. Leaving the offices and turning away from Hessa Street, we begin to see some of the attractive design elements of the school. We face towards the school’s multi-purpose sports hall, which is encased in a creamy-white façade and features a geometric design (see image, below) which, we are told, is an interpretation of RGS Guildford’s emblem, the Tudor Rose, an iconic British symbol that has been a part of the school’s fascinating history since 1552. Later, as we continue our tour, we will see more clever interpretations of and connections to the original school. The design details throughout the 40,000 sqm campus give a simple but unmistakable message: The connections to RGS Guildford are valued, meaningful and, more important, permanent.
The sports hall is a good size, and is adjacent to a series of changing rooms. Passing by these rooms, we are given a view of another key sporting facility: two swimming pools (one 25m in length, one a smaller training pool). Both walls and ceiling are of the same geometric Tudor Rose design as the Sports Hall exterior, allowing the two indoor pools the feel of being connected to the outdoors and providing plenty of natural light.