Hopkins Architects-designed wildlife sanctuary and visitor centre completed in Sharjah, UAE

Work has been completed on the Khor Kalba Turtle and Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharjah, UAE
Designed by Hopkins Architects, the sanctuary will also provide education and visitor facilities
Seven interconnected pods and tensile structures create the visitor centre
Facilities include aquaria, exhibition areas, visitor amenities, staff offices, veterinary facilities, classrooms, gift shop and a café

Work has been completed on the Khor Kalba Turtle and Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Commissioned by Sharjah’s Environmental Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) and situated on Kalba Creek, one of the most sensitive and biodiverse nature reserves in the Gulf, the complex comprises a cluster of rounded building forms, creating a sanctuary for rehabilitating turtles and nurturing endangered birds.

Designed by Hopkins Architects, the sanctuary will also provide education and visitor facilities to increase environmental awareness and engagement with conservation programmes.

Seven interconnected pods and tensile structures create a visitor centre, with a terrace and panoramic views towards the mangrove forests and distant mountains.

Facilities include aquaria, exhibition areas, visitor amenities, staff offices, veterinary facilities, classrooms, gift shop and a café.

A nature trail encourages visitors to explore the reserve’s rich biodiversity of indigenous mangrove forests and mud flats and the species it supports including turtles, stingrays, gazelles and the rare Arabian Collard Kingfisher.

The geometry of the pods is inspired by urchin exoskeletons and purposefully echoes those of the Buhais Geology Museum, with which the Sanctuary is paired.

The pods have been designed as pre-fabricated concrete structures to minimise disruption to the existing terrain, with concrete foundations which are simple robust discs, elevated to protect them on this tidal location.

Simon Fraser, principal of Hopkins Architects said: "Designing for a site like this is an incredible opportunity.

"The pioneering circular forms we designed for the Buhais Geological Museum, are also perfect for this rich ecological location as they touch the ground lightly.

"We have adapted them using soft scalloped precast cladding made from discarded shells found in the local area which responds to the marine environment and which softens the external appearance of the project to harmonise with its surroundings."

The modular buildings invite the landscape into the spaces, using framed panoramic views out and rays of natural light from above.

The pods are clad with segments of white scalloped pre-cast concrete referencing the shells found on the local shoreline and creating subtle variations of light and texture.

An array of steel ribs accentuates the sculptural cantilevered forms and completes this robust cladding system, itself designed to withstand the site’s unforgiving coastal conditions.

Visitors approach a semi-enclosed ribbed pod which serves as an orientation space and features glazed openings orientated towards key views.

A palette of light coastal tones softens the interior which is illuminated by skylights.

Passive design principles were prioritised throughout construction, to protect the interior spaces from the desert heat and lower the overall operational energy required.

The pods‘ precast concrete shells, ribs and in- situ foundation discs provide a well-sealed, exposed thermal mass across their floors, walls and roofs. A waterproof membrane and insulation running within the cladding cavity, is continuous across the pods surface.

Sharjah  Hopkins Architects 
Related stories
27 Jan 2020

Sea urchins inspire pod designs for new Buhais Geology Park

More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7602     
 
 
 
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7602     
 
 
 
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
Shawn Hausman and SHD principal Jessica Kimberley created the interiors
"We tried to take over in a friendly way"

The Standard’s first London hotel is bold, fun and full of surprising touches

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Extreme Climates: Into the wild
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

Manuelle Gautrand
"The cities where you have good cultural buildings and facilities – it’s a way for people to mix, to share the city in a much deeper way"

The French architect and winner of the 2017 European Prize for Architecture tells us why she is determined to surprise

Last word: Tina Norden
Tina Norden
"We have created an approach which is playful, provocative but also functional"

Conran and Partners’ Tina Norden on playing with colour at Prague’s newly redesigned Hotel Maximilian

features
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

The resort has been designed to blend into the landscape
"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 exterior of the museum features a glass veil suspended by red columns, angled out over the street
Stephen Barrett (left) 
and John McElgunn (right) were both made partners at RSHP in 2016
"Leisure space – public space – is at the very root of democracy, and architecture is about democracy"

As RSHP completes its latest cultural project, we speak to two of its partners about why Richard Rogers isn’t leaving his succession to chance

cladkit product news
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
cladkit product news
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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
x
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates