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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."
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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
RELATED STORIES
MORE NEWS
Kew Gardens establishes new 'living laboratory' to study biodiversity
Kew Gardens has established a "living laboratory" at its wild botanic garden at Wakehurst, UK.
UK government and National Lottery allocate £10m in vouchers to fund attractions visits
Discount rail and bus travel and £10m in vouchers to key attractions – funded by the National Lottery – are among the measures announced in the UK government’s plan to boost the country's tourism sector.
Kanva completes CA$25m redesign of Montreal's 'living museum', the Biodome
Work has been completed on the redevelopment of Montreal's Biodome – a science museum which occupies the site of the former velodrome built for the 1976 Olympic Games.
Heatherwick's Little Island – an 'urban park on stilts' – opens on Hudson River
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COMPANY PROFILES
ProSlide Technology, Inc.

A former national ski team racer, ProSlide® CEO Rick Hunter’s goal has been to integrate the smoot [more...]
IAAPA EMEA

IAAPA Expo Europe is owned and produced by IAAPA, The Global Association for the Attractions Industr [more...]
RMA Ltd

RMA Ltd is a one-stop global company that can design, build and produce from a greenfield site upw [more...]
Polin Waterparks

Polin was founded in Istanbul in 1976. Polin has since grown into a leading company in the waterpa [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Triotech and Benoit Cornet’s Bold Move to collaborate on breakthrough innovative media-based attractions
Triotech has announced a breakthrough alliance with Benoit Cornet and Bold Move to bring a new collaborative approach to the design of media-based attractions – with an emphasis on adding value for operators. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

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

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

24-24 Jun 2021

Post Covid Recovery Conference

Vrtual,
01-07 Dec 2022

World Leisure Congress 2022

tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2021

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
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