X-architects embeds visitor center into sharjah’s wasit nature reserve
all images © nelson garrido

 

 

 

dubai-based firm X-architects has completed a visitor center at the wasit nature reserve, a vast area of land that was once a waste-water and landfill site. located just outside of sharjah — the third largest city in the united arab emirates — the rehabilitation process of the damaged eco-system began in 2005. since then, 40,000 square meters of waste has been removed, and 35,000 trees have been planted — healing the land from toxic chemicals and conserving the region’s distinct salt flats and coastal sand dunes. after much effort to bring the non-migratory birds back to the reserve, the site is now home to 350 different species, as well as a landing zone for over 30,000 migrate birds.

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the visitor center is located at the wasit nature reserve

 

 

 

forming a haven for bird watchers and researchers, the architecture of the wetland visitor center blends with its surroundings and uses the existing topography to minimize its visual impact. the building — along with its internal programs — seeks to educate visitors on the richness of the wetland ecosystem, and provide information on the birds that frequent the area. upon arrival, a pathway leads visitors underground into a linear gallery. from here, a fully transparent wall provides views of the birds’ natural environment, immersing guests in the landscape.

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the scheme is located just outside of sharjah — the third largest city in the united arab emirates

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the project conserves the region’s salt flats and coastal sand dunes

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the building seeks to educate visitors on the richness of the wetland ecosystem

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the project has been completed by dubai-based firm X-architects

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the existing topography minimizes the building’s visual impact

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upon arrival, a pathway leads visitors underground into a linear gallery

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guests are immersed in the natural landscape

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linear exhibition and viewing space

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internal spaces are brightly illuminated

X-architects-wasit-natural-reserve-visitor-centre-sharjah-UAE-designboom-02
the site is home to 350 different species of birds

X-architects-wasit-natural-reserve-visitor-centre-sharjah-UAE-designboom-02
a fully transparent wall provides views of the birds’ natural environment

X-architects-wasit-natural-reserve-visitor-centre-sharjah-UAE-designboom-02
the rehabilitation process of the damaged eco-system began in 2005

X-architects-wasit-natural-reserve-visitor-centre-sharjah-UAE-designboom-02
the architecture of the wetland visitor center seeks to blend with its surroundings

X-architects-embeds-visitor-center-into-sharjah's-wasit-natural-reserve-designboom-07
the area is a haven for bird watchers and researchers

X-architects-embeds-visitor-center-into-sharjah's-wasit-natural-reserve-designboom-0935,000 trees have been planted, healing the land from toxic chemicals

X-architects-wasit-natural-reserve-visitor-centre-sharjah-UAE-designboom-02
the nature reserve was once a waste-water and landfill site

 

drawings

 

project info:

 

name: wasit natural reserve visitor center
location: sharjah, UAE
client: EPAA, environmental and protected area authority
built up area: 2,534 sqm
status: complete
photography: nelson garrido
design team: ahmed al-ali, farid esmaeil, mirco urban, pariya manafi, dana sheikh, abdullah bashir, waleed al mezaini, christian geronimo, brian abarintos, eyad zarafeh, haideral kalamchi

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