Al Saleel was designated a natural wildlife reserve by Royal Decree and covers an area of 220 sq/km. Responding to the challenge of building in a sensitive ecology, the new Al Saleel Visitors Centre attempts to evoke a poetic sense of space that is influenced by an understanding of the architecture of the region and the harsh climate. It is envisaged that this new environmentally friendly visitors centre will not only promote the Natural Reserve as a tourist destination, but will also provide important support and facilities for ongoing conservation and research projects.

The proposed facility sits in the open landscape and consists of a series of organically arranged, low rise buildings. A series of intimate spaces are linked together to provide a journey of discovery that subtly educates and enhances the visitors awareness of the vast landscape. The building is raised to provide panoramic views of the site while creating a physical barrier between the wildlife and people. At the same time, the design attempts to create a modified habitat to attract the wildlife in order to avoid the need for visitors to disturb the open landscape by vehicle. Employing both passive and mechanical techniques the building will actively demonstrate and educate the public on a variety of environmental strategies.


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