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A helix into the horizon by Almena

The Egyptian architecture firm Almena won an Honorable mention prize in the international architecture competition "Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center."

Architect's statement: 

The design concept for Al “Wathba Wetland Reserve visitor center” aims to enhance and demonstrate the reserve’s unique environment, create an adaptable building, and allow the visitor to get a unique experience and interact with nature without any disturbance to the animal and plant life.

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

The design approach depends on raising the building from the ground to open the view of the entire reverse without any visual impediments to the visitor through the use of thin wooden columns to carry the building, while at the same time creating a structure that minimizes the amount of interference and digging in the reserve’s soil. The project program was developed in a circular ring structure to allow the visitor 360 degrees panoramic view into the horizon to give a sense of infinite and focus on the reserve’s unique environment. Also, by raising the building above the ground, it creates an endless helix journey through the building to make it act like a large observatory tower to view the richness of “Al Wathba Wetland Reserve” without any hindrance. The ground floor has been freed and made entirely open to enhance visual contact with nature to give the visitor a sense of complete freedom of movement building to ensure that the visitor experience is worthwhile, satisfying, and enjoyable.

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

The building’s morphology creates a courtyard act as an oasis. It allows the ground and top floor space to connect through a ramped helix and provides direct communication between the oasis and the building, creating a unique interactive experience between the people inside and outside the building. The ramp also provides a shaded walkway that allows you to see a panoramic view of the reserve while enjoying the outdoors. The building’s skin is an output of dealing with parameters including cost, climate, culture, and construction feasibility. The building’s glass façade has been protected using an outer shell that gives the feeling of the Arabic Mashrabiya inside the void and protects from direct sunlight. It is inspired by the architectural elements of the building in the UAE using the palm reed “Al Areesh.” The building also includes figures of the animals inside the reserve, such as flamingo, fog, and other birds, to mix the natural experience with the museum experience. The building was a mixture of nature and museums.

3d section drawing3D Section 

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Visualization by Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Layout Layout 

Architectural PlanPlan

Mass generation diagram Mass generation

Environmental techniques Environmental techniques 

Elevation drawing Elevation

Axonometric wall section Wall section 

Diagram Diagram 

Alrayash Emirati architecture element Alrayash 

 

Project name: A HELIX INTO THE HORIZON

Architecture firm: Almena

Principal architect: Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Design year: 2020

Built area: 1500 m²

Site area: 3000 m²

Visualization: Abdelrahman Adel & Abdallah Mekkawi

Tools used: Autodesk 3ds MaxVray, Autodesk RevitAdobe Photoshop

Status: Unbuilt

Typology: International Competition / Conceptual

Competition name: ABU DHABI FLAMINGO VISITOR CENTER


By Naser N. Ibrahim

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