Sea urchins inspire pod designs for new Buhais Geology Park

Rarely is an architect offered the opportunity to design a building for such a beautifully barren landscape with so much geological and cultural significance.
– Simon Fraser

The Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre, with a Hopkins Architects design inspired by fossilised sea urchins, has opened in the United Arab Emirates.

The centre is part of the new Buhais Geology Park, which is located on the al-Madam Plain approximately 30mi (50km) from the city of Sharjah.

Although now desert, the site used to be a seabed and has an abundance of marine fossils from over 65 million years ago, as well as burial sites from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages.

"Rarely is an architect offered the opportunity to design a building for such a beautifully barren landscape with so much geological and cultural significance," said Simon Fraser, principal and lead designer at Hopkins Architects.

With that in mind, part of the challenge for Hopkins was to minimise disruption to the existing fauna, geology and terrain, which they achieved by creating relatively small structures that did not require significant foundational work and were prefabricated off-site.

The structures themselves take the form of five interconnected pods of varying sizes – housing exhibition spaces, an immersive theatre, a café with panoramic views, a gift shop and other visitor facilities – and a sixth, unconnected service pod.

The pods are coloured with hues of the surrounding landscape and the patterns of their steel cladding, coupled with their circular shapes, recall the urchins on which they are based.

They are linked by an outdoor trail that also incorporates viewing areas, a canopy-shaded classroom and walkways above rock formations and ancient burial grounds.

"Our ‘light touch’ approach references the site’s marine fossils by delivering a series of ‘urchin’ pods that sit cleanly on the ground and seek to become a part of the local environment," said Fraser.

"We are confident that this exciting new facility will encourage many people from all over the world to understand the way in which landscapes are formed by tectonic activities and how the Earth has changed over time."

Hopkins Architects  United Arab Emirates 
The Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre, with a Hopkins Architects design inspired by fossilised sea urchins, has opened in the United Arab Emirates. The centre is part of the new Buhais Geology Park, which is located on the al-Madam Plain approximately 30mi (50km) from the city of Sharjah. Although now desert, the site used to be a seabed and has an abundance of marine fossils from over 65 million years
CLD,VAT,HAM,ARC,DES
The centre is part of the newly opened Buhais Geology Park / Marc Goodwin
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7590     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7590     
 
 
 
company profile
Company profile: Starpool
Starpool is recognised as a leading company in spa design. Along with its business model based on careful planning, excellent products and outstanding services, Starpool is introducing its idea of wellbeing to the world.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The spa and fitness centre on the 57th floor end in an infinity-edge pool with views across Philadelphia
Dana Kalczak
"If we had focused entirely on high tech in the hotel, the artistry we normally strive for would have been compromised"

Four Seasons’ vice president of design speaks to CLAD about working with Norman Foster and creating magical moments

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
The resort is near the Great Smoky Mountains national park
"Sam was such a champion for the team, and my goal is simply to carry that same torch"

As Blackberry Mountain resort opens in Tennessee, we find out why the project is a deeply personal one for owner Mary Celeste Beall

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

Marianne Shillingford
"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

features
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

The spa has been designed to blend into the surroundings and reflect Lefay’s philosophy of healing through nature
"Wellness embraces the entire holiday experience"

The design of the newly-opened Lefay Resort and Spa Dolomitti in Italy aims to celebrate and protect its spectacular surroundings

cladkit product news
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
Painting with Light pushes boundaries to create unforgettable visual concepts
The team combines lighting, video, sound and special effects, with scenic and architectural elements, to create unforgettable visual experiences
Megan Whitby
Belgium-based light and video design studio, Painting with Light, will translate the story of your location into a visual experience, ...
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
cladkit product news
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
Matteo Thun grows Allaperto collection with new suspended outdoor armchair
Megan Whitby
Allaperto, the lounge collection spawned by the partnership between design studios, Matteo Thun, Ethimo and Antonio Rodriguez, has been expanded ...
cladkit product news
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates