In memory of
Mohammed Baru

Foreword 


Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril
Dean of CAAD



For the first time ever, we find ourselves bidding a virtual farewell to a graduating class from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS).

Certainly, none of us would have imagined that the final semester of this academic year would be delivered as online learning, nor that our tenth annual Six Degrees exhibition would be held online. While physical distancing has brought unique challenges to the end of this class’ journey with CAAD,  they have, as always, risen to the occasion and continued to deliver work of the highest standard until the very end.

This edition is dedicated to the memory of Muhammad Baru, who tragically lost his life in 2017 at the end of his second year in the Bachelor of Architecture program. Baru left behind an indelible impression on many of us and his heartbroken classmates, graduating this year, grieve this loss. The blank catalog spread in his name represents the incomplete project and the emptiness left in us. Our hearts go out to the Baru family on this profoundly sad anniversary.

Every CAAD student’s journey is one of extraordinary transformation, one that involves adapting to radically different ways of learning and thinking. Despite the uncertainty of these times, our graduates can have confidence that the knowledge, skills and sensibilities they acquired and honed through application and critical feedback have prepared them well to adapt to and thrive in any situation. Furthermore, they will continue to find support from each other and from the global network of CAAD alumni of which they are now a part.

Each work presented on this website identifies the faculty members in whose course it was produced. My faculty colleagues play a central and indispensable role in the transformational journey of each student through mentorship and engaging critique in order to challenge, inspire and push them to achieve outstanding outcomes such as those selected for this platform.

For the second year, this year’s catalog and exhibition have been designed in-house by our Design Practicum students, taught by my colleague Riem Ibrahim. This group has also taken on the challenge of adapting the Six Degrees exhibition to a virtual platform. This has been more than just a class assignment, and I thank them for their dedication and passion.

A number of colleagues, led by Associate Dean Zinka Bejtic, have played a key role in planning and organizing this recognition of our graduating students. My thanks go to George Katodrytis, Anijo Mathew, Camilo Cerro, Juan Roldan, Marina Peres and Hala Al Ani. As always, CAAD staff deserve recognition for their valuable support, in particular Yara Libzo, Assistant to the Associate Dean, and Savio Creado, Assistant to the Dean.

In closing, let me address our graduating students: I congratulate you and wish you the very best as you take your first steps into the professional design arena; I look forward to hearing of your successes in the future as leaders in the design professions or wherever your journey takes you.

Many of our alumni continue to engage with CAAD long after they have graduated. May I extend this invitation to you: whether you are seeking professional mentorship and advice from faculty or returning as a guest lecturer and mentor yourself, CAAD’s doors are always open to you.