“Heaven for bird watchers” created in Sharjah by X Architects

More than 350 species of bird have made their home at a reserve in Sharjah, built by Dubai-based firm X Architects on a former rubbish dump.

Wasit Natural Reserve by X Architects

Open since November, the Wasit Natural Reserve features a mix of sand dunes, salt flats and lagoons and the site was originally a dump for both rubbish and waste water..Now it is described as “a heaven for bird watchers and researchers”.

Wasit Natural Reserve by X Architects

The project to rehabilitate the area started back in 2005, and involved removing over 40,000m2 metres of garbage.

Wasit Natural Reserve by X Architects

The building’s entrance leads into an underground gallery that extends across the site, and is dedicated to observing the wildlife. At the far end, a cafe offers a view out to the largest pool.

Wasit Natural Reserve by X Architects

Aviaries slot in between the building, creating dedicated areas for birds including herons, ibises and seed eaters.

Wasit Natural Reserve by X Architects

“The architecture of the centre blends with its surroundings and uses the existing topography to minimise the visual impact on the natural scene,” explained X Architects.

All other facilities are contained in a block, which runs across the gallery near the entrance. It includes lecture halls, exhibition spaces, offices, breeding areas and a gift shop.

“After years of efforts to bring the non-migratory birds back to the site, Wasit Natural Reserve is now home to 350 species of birds, a landing zone for 33,000 migratory birds and a breathing lung to Sharjah city,” said the design team. “The facility became a heaven for bird watchers and researchers.”

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