2A Magazine has selected this project for its architectural achievements and professional concepts.
Published in 2A Magazine issue# 39
Autumn 2019, First place of 2ACAA 2016, 2A Asia Architecture Award – the category of Urban, Rural Projects- Sharjah
Wasit Natural Reserve Visitor Centre
Architects: Ahmed Al-Ali – Farid Esmaeil
Firm Location: UAE
Team Members: Mirco Urban, Pariya Manafi, Dana Sheikh, Abdullah Bashir, Waleed
Al Mezaini, Christian Geronimo, Brian Abarintos, Eyad Zarafeh, HaiderAl Kalamchi
Wasit Natural Reserve was originally a waste-water and rubbish dump. The rehabilitation process of the damaged eco-system started in 2005, 40,000m2 of rubbish removed, 35,000 trees been re-planted, healing the land from toxic chemicals and conservation of the Unique salt flats and costal sand dunes.
After years of efforts to bring the non-migratory birds back to the site, WNR is now home to 350 species of birds, a landing zone for 33,000 migrate birds, and a breathing lung to Sharjah city.
A wetland visitor center is established on site to continue protecting the natural environment, educate people on the richness of the wetland ecosystem and provides information about the birds that frequent the area and other wetlands areas of the emirate. The facility became heaven for bird watchers and researchers.
The architecture of the center blends with its’ surroundings and uses the existing topography to minimize the visual impact on the natural scene. When visitors arrive, a pathway leads them underground into a linear Gallery. A fully transparent wall allows the visitors to experience the birds’ natural environment and become part of it.