Fayez endowment supports shared partnership between University of Colorado and Dar Al-Hekma College

Fayez endowment supports shared partnership between University of Colorado and Dar Al-Hekma College

October 4, 2010

The newly announced “Friends of the University of Colorado and Dar Al-Hekma College”, a $1 million endowment gift from University alumnus Zuhair Fayez, will facilitate a collaborative exchange between the College of Architecture and Planning and Dar Al-Hekma College, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in support of an annual studio project that includes student and faculty exchanges. The goal is to give students a greater understanding of the cultural context of architecture and how traditional design can translate into the modern world. The endowment, which was facilitated by the CU Foundation, allows the shared studio experience at the College of Architecture and Planning to continue in perpetuity.

Fayez is the founder and president of Zuhair Fayez Partnership, the largest architecture/engineering/management firm in Saudi Arabia and one of the most successful international firms in the Middle East. Having spent several decades of his life building a business, Fayez says that he appreciates the top-quality education that he received from the University of Colorado. He enjoys giving back to the world of education, especially focusing in the areas of architecture and planning. He is a co-founder and Board Chair of Dar Al-Hekma College, the first private not-for-profit college for women in Saudi Arabia. He additionally serves on the College of Architecture and Planning Advisory Board, and is a Trustee of the University of Colorado Foundation. Eighteen of his family members have been or are currently being educated at the university.

When it comes to sustainability, students and faculty in cities seven thousand miles and an ocean apart—Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Denver, Colorado—have more in common than one might imagine. Together, teams at the College of Architecture and Planning and Dar Al-Hekma College have been discovering new ways to preserve cultures and enhance global initiatives in sustainable urban design through collaborative studio projects. Planners and designers in both countries must address issues of urban sprawl, population growth, water usage, and protection of fragile eco-systems. Because they live in a civilization that has been managing within a harsh, dry desert climate for thousands of years, the Saudis employ vital processes such as the desalination of seawater. Student/faculty collaborations between the two colleges may hold possible keys for sustainability problem-solving in the American West.

The projects between UC Denver and DAHC include design exchanges in which students from each college design housing for underserved populations in the partnering country. Educational partnerships offer connections between cultures and answers for creating healthier, more sustainable, and more meaningful environments for the 21st century. Together, the next generation of designers and planners at UC Denver and Dar Al-Hekma are designing better futures for themselves and for a shared world.