Believe it or not, this sprawling natural reserve in the UAE was once a wastewater and rubbish dump. Dubai-based X Architects, the new visitor center complements the richness of the wetland ecosystem and provides information on the species of birds that frequent the area - all of which aids in the site's remarkable rehabilitation.
The rehabilitation process of the area, located in Sharjah, started in 2005 with the removal of approximately 40,000 square meters of rubbish. Around 35,000 trees were re-planted in order to heal the land from toxic chemicals and conserve the unique salt flats and costal sand dunes. After years of effort to bring non-migratory birds back to the site, WNR is now home to 350 species of birds.
The visitor center acts as an educational facility and hub for bird watchers and researchers. The project uses the existing topography to minimize its impact on the natural surroundings, and a pathway leads visitors underground into a linear gallery with a fully transparent wall that allows them to become one with the birds’ natural habitat.
Photos by Nelson Garrido