The Arabian Oryx is a medium-sized antelope that is native to the Middle East. It has long, straight horns, a tufted tail and a distinct shoulder bump, and it is the smallest member of the genus Oryx. Native to desert and steppe areas of the Arabian Peninsula, the Arabian Oryx was considered extinct in the wild at the start of the 1970s.

However, a number of breeding programs in zoos and private reserves meant that Arabian Oryx numbers slowly increased, and they were reintroduced into the wild from 1980. As of 2009, there are a number of Arabian Oryx living in Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, yet the species is still listed as vulnerable.

The Arabian Oryx was considered extinct in the wild at the start of the 1970s; © Ahmed AlDhaheri
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and is home to rich, natural biodiversity which includes a number of unique desert-dwelling species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, including the Arabian Oryx. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) is one of the driving forces behind efforts to maintain the emirate’s dwindling natural population, setting up and maintaining a number of environmentally protected areas.

Abu Dhabi - Capital of the United Arab Emirates; 
Established in 2018, the “Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network” consists of 13 terrestrial protected areas and covers over 15% of Abu Dhabi’s territory. The Qasar Al Sarab Protected Area covers 1304 square kilometers in which the Arabian Oryx roams freely; and the Arabian Oryx Protected Area, which covers 5975 square kilometers, is home to the largest population of Arabian Oryx in the world.

© Ahmed AlDhaheri

In order to maintain public interest in these amazing creatures, and allow the public to view them up close, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) are looking to create a series of sustainable visitor lodges that can be positioned throughout the protected area. The key design feature would need to be sustainability, in such sensitive natural environments, the visitor lodges must not have a negative impact on the environment of the protected areas or any species living within.

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) is interested in constructing approximately 25 units within their protected areas, as such winning designs will need to involve creative solutions for construction and operation within these delicate environments, while at the same time providing an exciting and comfortable experience for visitors.

Download full competition brief for more information!

Competition is open to all. No professional qualification is required. Design proposals can be developed individually or by teams (4 team members maximum). Correspondence with organizers must be conducted in English; All information submitted by participants must be in English

Mega Dunes Eco 
Lodges - Abu Dhabi
Official partner
Mega Dunes Eco 
Lodges - Abu Dhabi