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Sea urchins inspire pod designs for new Buhais Geology Park
POSTED 27 Jan 2020 . BY Stu Robarts
The centre is part of the newly opened Buhais Geology Park Credit: Marc Goodwin
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."
Sign up here to get the Attractions Management weekly ezine and every issue of Attractions Management magazine free on digital.
The café has panoramic views of the Jebel Buhais ridge Credit: Marc Goodwin
Visitors to the centre will learn how landscapes are formed by tectonic activities Credit: Joanne Yu
The pods' steel cladding, coupled with their circular shapes, recall the urchins on which they are based Credit: Marc Goodwin
Five interconnected pods house exhibition spaces, an immersive theatre, a café, a gift shop and other visitor facilities Credit: Marc Goodwin
The pods are relatively small and were prefabricated off-site to minimise disruption to the existing fauna, geology and terrain Credit: Marc Goodwin
Although now desert, the site used to be a seabed and has an abundance of marine fossils from over 65 million years ago Credit: Marc Goodwin
The pods are coloured with hues of the surrounding landscape Credit: Marc Goodwin
The park is located on the al-Madam Plain, approximately 30mi (50km) from the city of Sharjah Credit: Marc Goodwin
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NEWS
Sea urchins inspire pod designs for new Buhais Geology Park
POSTED 27 Jan 2020 . BY Stu Robarts
The centre is part of the newly opened Buhais Geology Park Credit: Marc Goodwin
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."
Sign up here to get the Attractions Management weekly ezine and every issue of Attractions Management magazine free on digital.
The café has panoramic views of the Jebel Buhais ridge Credit: Marc Goodwin
Visitors to the centre will learn how landscapes are formed by tectonic activities Credit: Joanne Yu
The pods' steel cladding, coupled with their circular shapes, recall the urchins on which they are based Credit: Marc Goodwin
Five interconnected pods house exhibition spaces, an immersive theatre, a café, a gift shop and other visitor facilities Credit: Marc Goodwin
The pods are relatively small and were prefabricated off-site to minimise disruption to the existing fauna, geology and terrain Credit: Marc Goodwin
Although now desert, the site used to be a seabed and has an abundance of marine fossils from over 65 million years ago Credit: Marc Goodwin
The pods are coloured with hues of the surrounding landscape Credit: Marc Goodwin
The park is located on the al-Madam Plain, approximately 30mi (50km) from the city of Sharjah Credit: Marc Goodwin
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Therme Group announces cultural collaboration to develop native forests at global wellbeing resorts
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TOR Systems have been in this business since 1981. [more...]
TechnoAlpin

The TechnoAlpin SnowRoom is the most attractive and effective way for customers to cool down from h [more...]
Sally Corporation

Our services include: Dark ride design & build; Redevelopment of existing attractions; High-quality [more...]
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VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - ProSlide | Atlantis Dubai
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
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07-09 Jun 2021

Renewable Plastics connect 2021

Virtual summit,
09 Jun 2021

IAAPA Expo Asia 2021

The Venetian Macao, Macao, China
+ More diary  
 


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