The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, towers at 828 meters in the heart of Dubai’s ever-growing urban core. But just a few hours east of the metropolis, a different kind of monument is garnering tourism to the United Arab Emirates: the Al Hajar Mountains. With its peak at 3,008 meters, the mountain range’s natural elegance rivals the country’s architectural achievements. The Biodomes Wildlife Conservation Centre, a project from Baharash Architecture for the UAE’s Eco Resort Group, seeks to celebrate the mountain range through an ecotourism paradigm.
As tourism to natural areas increases worldwide, and as the UAE prepares to welcome an estimated 45 million visitors to the country by 2021, the Al Hajar mountains will likely see increased tourism over the coming years. And with tourism can come pollution, soil erosion, and loss of natural habitats and endangered species. Baharash's Biodome project hopes to mitigate the effects of tourism on the natural environment through low-impact design and promotion of environmentally responsible tourism.
Evocative of Buckminster Fuller’s Montreal Biosphere and the more recent Seattle Spheres—home to Amazon’s headquarters— Baharash’s biodomes use an iconic form with a new purpose. The three self-sustaining domes will be made from “prefabricated components to minimize disruption and allow fast assembly on site.” From the inside of the domes, visitors will be able to view the landscape almost unencumbered. But with passive cooling, the subterranean domes will ensure more comfortable temperatures inside than out. Housing “educational programs to promote sustainable tourism” and a “Conservation Centre to protect various wildlife species,” Baharash and The Eco Resort Group hope to encourage a new kind of tourism that will allow visitors to enjoy the natural environment without adversely affecting it.
News via: Baharash Architecture