Bee Breeders has announced the winners of the Abu Dhabi Flamingo Observation Tower competition. Situated in the Al Wathba Reserve, 40 kilometers southeast of Abu Dhabi, the competition site oversees five square kilometers of wetlands, salt flats, and fossilized sands and dunes.
The 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, a network of trails, and bird hide. Requirements included a limited floor area of 400 square meters, and a height of 12 meters, and a budget of $200,000.
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.
Below, we have published the three winners, BB Student Award, and BB Green Award. For more information, visit the official website here.
First Prize Winner
Flamingo Dreams / Bryan Fan, Shelley Xu
Jury comments: '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.
Second Prize Winner
Al Wathba Birdwalk /AIDIA STUDIO - Natalia Wrzask, Rolando Rodriguez Leal, José Luis Mulás, Paola Barrenechea
Jury comments: 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.
Third Prize Winner
The Cube / Rafail Gkaidatzis, Panagiotis Dimakidis
Jury comments: 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 birdcage and houses multiple platforms, offering a short journey for viewing the surroundings from different perspectives.