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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."
The park is located on the al-Madam Plain, approximately 30mi (50km) from the city of Sharjah Credit: Marc Goodwin
The pods are coloured with hues of the surrounding landscape 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 relatively small and were prefabricated off-site to minimise disruption to the existing fauna, geology and terrain Credit: Marc Goodwin
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
Visitors to the centre will learn how landscapes are formed by tectonic activities Credit: Joanne Yu
The café has panoramic views of the Jebel Buhais ridge Credit: Marc Goodwin
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Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
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."
The park is located on the al-Madam Plain, approximately 30mi (50km) from the city of Sharjah Credit: Marc Goodwin
The pods are coloured with hues of the surrounding landscape 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 relatively small and were prefabricated off-site to minimise disruption to the existing fauna, geology and terrain Credit: Marc Goodwin
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
Visitors to the centre will learn how landscapes are formed by tectonic activities Credit: Joanne Yu
The café has panoramic views of the Jebel Buhais ridge Credit: Marc Goodwin
RELATED STORIES
MORE NEWS
Foster and Partners reveal design for sustainable marine life centre on the Red Sea
Live-streaming 'digital tour' enters the attractions sector
Live-streaming platform Heygo has ventured into the cultural visitor attractions sector by partnering with a number of museums in the UK and US.
Brad Pitt makes debut as sculptor at Finnish art museum
Hollywood superstar, Brad Pitt, has made his debut as a sculptor as part of British artist Thomas Houseago’s first ever exhibition in the Nordic countries.
World's longest and 'technologically advanced' zipline planned for Iceland
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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...]
Red Raion

Founded in 2014, Red Raion is the CGI studio specialized in media based attractions. [more...]
Clip 'n Climb

Clip ‘n Climb currently offers facility owners and investors more than 40 colourful and unique Cha [more...]
WhiteWater

WhiteWater was born in 1980 with one clear purpose, to create places where families unite and make j [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Attractions industry to reunite this September at IAAPA Expo Europe in London
For the first time in more than a decade, industry leaders from across the global attractions industry will once again gather in London as part of the annual IAAPA Expo Europe, the sector’s premier international event. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion Showreel 2021
Another year has passed, and we’re definitely happy with what we have accomplished in 2021! Find out more...
More videos:
IAAPA Expo Europe Promo – International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
ProSlide's all-in-one waterplay entertainment center – Proslide Tech Inc
Keynote | Moby Dick - Friends to the rescue! – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

13 Oct 2022

VAC 2022

The ICC Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
25-28 Oct 2022

Synergy - The Retreat Show

Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
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