(links to external sites of academic work & partner institutions)
Felix Beck lead a student team (Aladham Maher Chakohi, William Mlekush, Nisala Saheed) to create together with Zlatan Filipovic (American University of Sharjah) to work on a concept for a watch tower and modular boardwalk system as a competition entry for the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.
Al Wathba Wetland reserve is a beautiful habitat located south of the city of Abu Dhabi. Hosting over 600 species of mammals, birds, invertebrates, plants, and reptiles, the reserve serves as breeding grounds for many migratory birds such as the greater flamingo (about 4000 birds) and the black winged stilt. Placed on the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, the reserve covers five square kilometers and has wetlands, salt flats (sabkhas), and fossilized dunes.
The project outlines a modular boardwalk system oriented around an educational and contextual experience of the wetlands concluding at a watchtower: Burj Al Fanteer (fanteer arabic for flamingo). The watchtower stands at 12 meters tall over a 700 meter boardwalk, built for variable accessibility needs. The structure and construction process are also meant to have minimal impact on the environment and ecological composition of the site. For instance, the boardwalk is a raised platform with minimal intrusive foundations, allowing water flow, nutrient circulation, and open pathways for animals to cross.