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A brick pavilion in the United Arab Emirates. Award-winning project by Polish students

11 of December '20

Students of the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin - Kinga Gawlik and Piotr Rajewski - received the BB Student Award in the competition entitled "Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center. "Abu Dhabi Flamingo Visitor Center" organized by the Bee Breeders platform.
The "Well-Balanced" pavilion fits harmoniously into the surroundings of Al Wathba Nature Reserve and allows you to observe flamingos!

The task of the competition organized by the Bee Breeders Architecture Competition in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency was to design a new tourist center that takes into account the unique landscape of the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. The reserve, located 40 kilometers southeast of Abu Dhabi, is famous for its abundant flamingo population.

Elewacja frontowa

The simple, horizontal form of the pavilion

© Kinga Gawlik, Piotr Rajewski

The design of the new building was to include an information center, a café, a terrace, a gift store, space for specimen displays, a training center, restrooms and parking. The jury was looking for designs that took into account sustainability and operational qualities. A key consideration was the relationship of the new facility to the reserve's ecosystem. According to the competition organizers' recommendations, the facility should serve both an exhibition and conference function, as well as a vantage point from which to view the vast expanse of the floodplain.

well-balanced pavilion

The"Well-Balanced" pavilion by Kinga Gawlik and Piotr Rajewski was designed to create a dialogue between architecture and the beautiful views of the Al Wathba Nature Reserve. In the program of the premise, the students included tourist and sightseeing functions, as well as those responsible for the office and technical operation of the building.

Centrum obserwacji

The building's slightly pink color scheme alludes to traditional Abu Dhabi buildings

© Kinga Gawlik, Piotr Rajewski

As the authors say about the work on the project:

The main guiding idea was not only the correct solution of functions or an interesting body, but also the least possible interference with the surroundings. The design solutions were also significantly influenced by the weather conditions, from which it is not uncommon to be protected in Abu Dhabi. As a result, we obtained a simple block, which, in our opinion, harmoniously complements the natural surroundings, while creating a distinctive architectural object. We decided to participate in the competition even before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the very process of creating the project was already completely remote between Warsaw and Szczecin. We didn't quite believe that we would be able to bring the entire design process to completion in such a way. The scale of the outbreak surprised us as well. Working remotely makes the simplest aspects of teamwork much longer and more difficult. This period allowed us to appreciate today's communication options - video calls, scanned sketches and remote consultations with the project lead Dr. Krzysztof Bizio.

Rzut projektu Pawilon ekspozycyjny

The main idea was to create a concept based on the structure of a small town

© Kinga Gawlik, Piotr Rajewski

object in harmony with its surroundings

The guiding thought was to create a concept based on the structure of a small town. The entire premise deliberately does not stand out from its surroundings. At the design stage, the students appreciated the beautiful views of the floodplains where the flamingos reside. With a modest block with a subtle expression, the authors wanted to emphasize that nature is the main character of the project. The view openingsand the interpenetration of spaces are meant to show that the surroundings are a continuation of the project. The pavilion has a strongly horizontal form devoid of symmetry. The boundary between the interior and exterior of the building was intentionally blurred so that the perception of the architecture is a continuation of the surroundings. The appearing contours, as well as view openings, are intended to give the impression of free flowing space. The design was inspired by an architectural icon of modernism - the Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Pawilon otrzymał
nagrodę BB Student Award

oasis completes the premise space

© Kinga Gawlik, Piotr Rajewski

a classic solution in a modern style

The building consists of functionally defined spaces, and its cohesive element is an oasis in the form of gardens and a pond, which completes the establishment space. The young architects also looked for ecological system solutions, allowing for effective ventilation of the building while maintaining the appropriate detailing. Thus, they created a double façade with movable elements that can be adjusted to the prevailing weather conditions without affecting the quality of the architecture's reception. The building's light pink color scheme is reminiscent of traditional Abu Dhabi buildings. Wanting to add a touch of modernity, the designers used brick as a building material, creating a classic solution in a modern edition.

Rzut i elewacja

A double façade with movable elements allows adaptation to climatic conditions

© Kinga Gawlik, Piotr Rajewski

The use of the same materials on the exterior and interior of the building creates the impression of a small town hidden under a roof. This feeling is complemented by gardens and openwork brick partitions. Green atriums also affect the microclimate of the building. To take care of the plants, the authors proposed an irrigation system from rainwater, directed to the individual atriums through roof slopes.

Read also about the Flamingo Observation Center project by Alicja Nowak, Yaroslav Panasevych and Maciej Rodak, which was awarded in the same competition.

elaborated by Dobrawa Bies

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