Faculty of Fine Arts – Architecture Department – Alexandria University, Egypt
El-Bahariya Oasis is a depression and oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt, approximately 370 km away from Cairo. The valley is surrounded by mountains and has numerous springs and covers an area of about 2000 km². The main economic sectors present in the area are agriculture, iron ore mining, and tourism. The Ecology Research Center is the focal point for ecological field research at El-Heiz, a village of 600 household and 3,300 residents south of Bahariya Oasis. Ain El Ris is a 65,000 meter square piece of land that was once a huge lake; today its divided into small desert salt lakes due to lack of rain fall, representing a microcosm of the larger issues facing El-Heiz.
This research center provides educational opportunities and research facilities for researchers and aims to enhance people’s lives through Resilient Architecture, which can be defined as “the intentional design of buildings, landscapes, communities, and regions in response to vulnerabilities to disaster and disruption of normal life”. The Ecology Research Center provides facilities for conducting field research in hydrogeology, hydrology and solar energy to study the site’s natural resources.
The architecture of the center blends with its surroundings and uses the existing topography to minimize the visual impact on the natural scene. When visitors arrive, a pathway takes them into a long linear gallery and then out to a park that allows the visitors to experience the desert landscape of the park & the birds’ natural environment and become part of it.
Within the larger approach developed above, design a new park sited at Al-Bahariya Oasis within Al-Heiz village, which includes the Wildlife Refuge, salt lakes and mountainscape. El-Heiz EcoPark has the opportunity not only to become a premier destination within Bahariya, but to provide facilities and resources for the entire western desert.