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.
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”.
The project to rehabilitate the area started back in 2005, and involved removing over 40,000m2 metres of garbage.
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.
Aviaries slot in between the building, creating dedicated areas for birds including herons, ibises and seed eaters.
“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.”