International Architecture Competition

Abu Dhabi Flamingo
Observation Tower

Results

Foreword

Competition organisers

Abu Dhabi Flamingo
Observation Tower

Official Partners

Abu Dhabi Flamingo
Observation Tower

The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve located 40 kilometers southeast of Abu Dhabi. Established in 1998, it is comprised of five square kilometers of wetlands, salt flats, and fossilized sands and dunes. The reserve is known for an array of plant and animal species, such as the black-winged stilt and the indigenous spiny-tailed lizard. The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve's most notable visitors are the flamingo flocks that migrate here each winter by the thousands. Flamingos stay close to salty bodies of shallow water, build their nests at the water's edges, and search for food within the water.

The Abu Dhabi Flamingo Observation Tower competition tasked participants with proposing designs for a flamingo observation platform and connecting boardwalk. Intended as a new architectural landmark for the wetlands, the platform will supplement the reserve's existing visitor experience center, network of trails, and a bird hide. The competition brief asked that the bird observation platform be limited to a floor area of 400 m² and height of 12m, that it be durable, easy to maintain, and handicapped-accessible. Modular assembly and total construction costs estimated at a limit of US $200,000 were advised.

The jury reviewed competition entries based on environmental-responsibility, energy-efficient construction methods that considered minimal excavation and limited road access given the site's remote location within the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve.

This competition is part of Bee Breeders' design competition series focused on small-scale architecture. It is run in partnership with ARCHHIVE BOOKS, which will publish a forthcoming book on the topic of small-scale architecture in 2020, as well as in partnership with the Environmental Agency of Abu Dhabi. Winning design competition entries will be considered for construction.

Bee Breeders thanks all the design competition participants. While small-scale architecture limits size, it certainly does not limit creativity. As can be seen in the entries highlighted here, demands on small-scale design also incentivize new ways of thinking about material applications and methods of construction.

1ST PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Flamingo Dreams

Country

Australia

Project authors

Bryan Fan
Shelley Xu

jury commentary

'Flamingo Dreams' turns the typical boardwalk into an experiential promenade. A steel frame is set on a forest of thin vertical members. The structure is topped with a metal grill deck and balustrade with an infill of mesh, and then covered by a shell of palm leaves. The form at once resembles a bird's nest and a thicket of grass. The introductory rendering is especially intriguing, and makes one wonder, how to see the surroundings from within? In fact it hides visitors from the view of birds and allows views through openings in the palm-leaf shell. The jury would like to see this project taken to the next level with a further study of the structure - is it possible to rethink the structure made of a material greener than metal?

2ND PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

Al Wathba Birdwalk

Company

Aidiastudio

Country

United Kingdom

Project authors

Natalia Wrzask
Rolando Rodriguez Leal
José Luis Mulás
Paola Barrenechea

jury commentary

The 'Birdwalk" challenges the necessity for a single focal point of observation offered by a tower. Given flamingos' tendency to gather in large groups over large swaths of land, the Birdwalk instead offers an elongated and sheltered platform elevated to provide multiple vantage points over the shallow water bodies of the nature reserve. It is comprised of a modular system of concrete footings supporting prefabricated bamboo and oak rib profiles and decking, covered by a stretched and semi-transparent fabric. The construction system is minimally invasive and follows the topography of the landscape. Its various profiles provide for a range of different seating options and relationships with the ground. The jury considered this project to have extremely strong, clear graphic representation. It would like to understand more about the fabric system used to shelter the platform. What material is it, and how might this hold up over time?

3RD PRIZE WINNER

Project Name

The Cube

Country

Netherlands

Project authors

Rafail Gkaidatzis
Panagiotis Dimakidis

jury commentary

This pixelated structure impressed the jury with its ability to produce a number of unique viewing spaces using the buildup of a simple module. The structural unit is comprised of a cube of 12 linear wooden elements fixed at the corners. While not necessarily strong on its own, the cube performs as a structural lattice when amassed in bulk. Its form resembles a bird cage and houses multiple platforms, offering a short journey for viewing the surroundings from different perspectives. The jury found the sectional and elevation drawings to be especially helpful in understanding the unique spaces enclosed by this structure. The jury wonders if the fixation detail of the typical modular cube can be further simplified from a steel plate with screws to a more intelligent and stronger joint. It also wonders if the typical prefabricated module could in fact be much bigger, allowing the entire structure to be transported to site in just a handful of larger segments.

BB STUDENT AWARD

Project Name

Hiden paradise

University

Wuhan university

Country

China

Project authors

Min Liu
Bee Breeder's university rankings
+72 POINTS
BB GREEN AWARD

Project Name

Rift in the desert

Country

Turkey

Project authors

Kadir Öztürk
Emrah Kuşener
Gamze Sümer

Honorable mentions

VIEWclose HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Project Name

The catwalk

Company

Turilia

Country

Lebanon

Project authors

Christian Sleiman
Amanda Kassab
Ranine Achkar
Elie Abi Sejaan

Project Name

Al Wathba Flamingo Observation Pavilion

Company

R.h. carter architects inc.

Country

Canada

Project authors

Bryce Jarman
Kael Samake
Megan Baker
Stephen Travers

Project Name

Geoglyph

Country

Norway

Project authors

Mateusz Bartczak

Project Name

Nest

Company

Nudes

Country

India

Project authors

Nuru Karim
Dhruval Shah
Aditya Jain
Salai V

Project Name

ROCK-SAND

Country

Ukraine

Project authors

Julia Shemchuk

Project Name

Arish

Company

Unanime

Country

France

Project authors

Pierre Sfeir
Sayed Al Meshqab
Zainab Khalil
Darwin Cavaneyro

Shortlisted projects

VIEWclose Shortlisted projects

China

Wuhan University

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+72 POINTS
min liu

Germany

andreas siegmund
julian sillem
su kim

Netherlands

rafail gkaidatzis
panagiotis dimakidis

Chile

Universidad Andres Bello, Andrés Bello National University

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+22 POINTS
antonio hevia
cristobal ossa
cristian cruz
camila valdes

Switzerland

EPFL École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+22 POINTS
luciano antonietti
fiorini alice
mercolli lino

Chile

Universidad Andres Bello, Andrés Bello National University

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+22 POINTS
denisse nicole oñate rivas
marcelo jonatan honores pizarro
fabián enrique gaete hidalgo

China

Tianjin University

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+22 POINTS
ruiqi dong
sining guo
yujie jia
siyu chen

Bulgaria

"abi projects" ltd

georgi georgiev
atanas nanov
biserka georgieva

United Kingdom

harty and harty harty
annabelle harty
aran chadwick
olive harty

France

Unanime

pierre sfeir
sayed al meshqab
zainab khalil
darwin cavaneyro

India

Nudes

nuru karim
dhruval shah
aditya jain
salai v

France

School of Architecture of Nantes, ENSA NANTES, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Nantes

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+22 POINTS
nam vu
saif aletriby

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

Deraz

shada elmagri
kamal abouzayan
badredin ammar

Germany

tilman heller
ulises contreras

Montenegro

University of Montenegro

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+22 POINTS
veljko vulanovic

Jordan

bashar bitar
nemer bitar
abdel rahman bitar
anas bitar

Canada

R.h. carter architects inc.

bryce jarman
kael samake
megan baker
stephen travers

United States

alfonso lopez
stefan vittori
alex nunes

United States

david rooth
tiziano fabrizio

Lebanon

jawan fakhoury
nadine abdulsalam

Sweden

hussein chith
stefania dinea
robert granstam
alexander stark

United Kingdom

abigail benouaich
reut fadel avinadav
safy barar

United States

laura garofalo
omar khan
jason green
jelani lowe

United States

Sala hars

juan sala
douglas harsevoort

United Kingdom

Aidiastudio

natalia wrzask
rolando rodriguez leal
josé luis mulás
paola barrenechea

Turkey

kadir Öztürk
emrah kuşener
gamze sümer

Poland

Chalmers University of Technology, Chalmers tekniska högskola

Bee Breeder's university rankings
+22 POINTS
karolina bloch

United States

georgi todorov
petya petrova

Lebanon

Turilia

christian sleiman
amanda kassab
ranine achkar
elie abi sejaan
 

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