International Design Competition
Project Team: Christina Doumpioti, Pavel Hladik, Michael U. Hensel, Matteo Lomaglio, Defne Sunguroğlu Hensel, Jeffrey P. Turko with Jordan Whitewood-Neal
The scheme organizes the site as transition between the Al Wathba Wetlands ecosystem and the planned afforestation scheme for the area. The blending of architecture and landscape architecture results in a universally accessible landscape that enfolds the interior space of the visitor centre. A sequence of architectural, landscape and microclimatic experiences characterize the scheme: the tree grove, the dune (the dry landscape that extends over the building and its continuation to the south into the wetlands), the sails (the transitional space between sun-sails and climate skin of the building), and the cavern (the darker and cool interior of the building). A shading tree grove on the north-eastern corner of the site is composed of tree species selected for the larger area reforestation plan. From here it is possible to directly enter the building, or to walk up to the landscapes roof of the building and continue further into the wetland, or alternatively along the western perimeter of the building, entering from the west. From the northern and southern approach the building presents itself primarily as a landscape. The eastern and western elevations are marked by colonnades of sun-sails, providing a shaded transitional space that prevents excessive solar penetration of the interior. The interior cavernous space presents itself as a heavy protective mass . The tree stands on the eastern perimeter of the site serve as assembly area for groups that venture from there into the wetland reserve.