College of Architecture, Art and Design | American University of Sharjah


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Dean's message

Our success is evident in the many plaudits garnered by our students and alumni.

Varkki Pallathucheril

It gives me great pleasure to introduce the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD), home to the UAE’s top programs in architecture and design. At a global level, AUS is ranked among the top 200 universities for studies in architecture and the built environment, and in the top 200 for art and design (QS World Subject Rankings, 2023).

Design and the arts fundamentally affect the quality of our lives by satisfying in profound ways the needs and desires of individuals and societies. CAAD students and faculty are immersed in processes of iterative making and exploring in order to realize the transformative potential of design. They strive to understand systems at a very deep level and reimagine them in extraordinary ways. They debunk the notion that design and the arts are mere hobbies that do not add value or change lives.

Making and testing are an essential part of what we do and how we learn in CAAD; these are intense and challenging endeavors. Furthermore, the liberal arts core at AUS, which augments courses in CAAD, distinguishes us from many other design schools and ensures that our students have a broad intellectual preparation for the challenges they will face as competent and successful professionals in today’s world. Employers and graduate school admission committees prefer CAAD graduates because of their design abilities and because they are articulate, critical thinkers.

My faculty colleagues play a central and vital role in this success. With their energy and design knowledge, they inspire students to perform at a level that attracts recognition. They invest a great deal of themselves in their teaching. Studio instruction, which is at the heart of learning design, is an intensive endeavor and requires the investment of significant time and energy. CAAD faculty are not only passionate and committed teachers, they disseminate their creative work and engage in scholarly activities.  

Over the past 25 years, CAAD students and alumni have received regional and international acclaim for their outstanding contributions, including major awards such as the Agha Khan Award for Architecture, Van Cleef & Arpels Middle East Emergent Designer Prize, Christo and Jean Claude Award, Global Undergraduate Awards, Commercial Interior Design Awards and James Dyson Award, among many others.

Our graduates go on to succeed in graduate studies at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, such as the Architectural Association School of Architecture and Royal College of Art in London, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Rhode Island School of Design, and New York’s School of Visual Arts.

In the professional world, CAAD alumni dominate the regional design scene. They are the names behind iconic architectural projects such as the Dubai Twisted Bridge and Museum of the Future, the founders of some of the region’s leading architecture and design firms, and major contributors to major art, design and film festivals such as Dubai Design Week and Venice Biennale.

I am proud to be associated with these successful endeavors. I invite you to visit us in person or online and witness the creative energy that fills our building and the magic that happens when students and faculty reimagine our world.

Varkki Pallathucheril, PhD


Find out why we are one of the most well-respected design schools in the region.

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