Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre // Hopkins Architects

Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre // Hopkins Architects


Text description provided by the architects.

Lying approximately 30 miles south-east of Sharjah in a region of exceptional prehistoric and geological significance, the site features an abundance of 65-million-year-old marine fossils, spectacular mountain ranges and ancient burial sites from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages.
Seeking to create a series of exhibition spaces which present the region’s significant geological phenomena, we designed five interconnected pods of varying sizes to accommodate exhibition areas, an immersive theatre, a café, a gift shop and other visitor facilities.

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

The geometry of the pods was inspired by the fossilised urchins present on site and developed into a typology which could be sized to suit different functions.
To minimise disruption to the existing fauna, geology and terrain, the pods were designed as pre-fabricated concrete structures and only lightly touch the ground on in-situ reinforced concrete foundation discs.

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

The pods are clad in steel panels, coloured to reference the hues of the surrounding landscape and shade the precast concrete structures.
These panels are fixed into an array of steel ribs, giving the pods their distinctive sculptural, cantilevered forms and further referencing the exoskeleton of the urchin fossils.
The restrained palette of the interior materials complements the pods’ exposed concrete shell segments.

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

© Hopkins Architects

© Hopkins Architects

Glazing and oculi have been inserted to control natural light into the space, tempering the brightness of the desert sun.
Linking the pods and looping sinuously around the site is an outdoor trail accessed from the main exhibition area.
Designed to encourage visitors to explore the jebel, the trail incorporates viewing areas, a shaded classroom, and raised walkways across natural rock formations and ancient burial grounds.

© Fevonos, Felix von Schwanewede

© Fevonos, Felix von Schwanewede

© Fevonos, Felix von Schwanewede

© Fevonos, Felix von Schwanewede

The Geology Park is the latest addition to a suite of learning centres operated by Sharjah’s Environmental Protected Areas Authority who lead conservation efforts in the Emirate, manage protected areas and provide exceptional educational experiences..

© Marc Goodwin

© Marc Goodwin

© Hopkins Architects

© Hopkins Architects

Buhais Geology Park Interpretive Centre Gallery



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