The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre (SZDLC) was opened on 10 October 2016 by Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
“The late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s strong connection with the desert contributed to the formation of his emotional and cultural heritage, and SZDLC reflects this unique relationship,” he said during the opening ceremony.
SZDLC has five interactive galleries: Sheikh Zayed Tribute Hall, Abu Dhabi Desert Over Time, Abu Dhabi’s Living World, Looking to the Future and People of the Desert, all designed by interpretation and exhibition designer, AldrichPears Associates.
The project has been described as the UAE’s first sustainable building and was the first to achieve a Five Pearl rating from ESTIDAMA.
BECK were commissioned to undertake the exhibition fit out which included pre-fabricated joinery designed to replicate sand dune formations using multiple layers of plywood with integrated interactives, graphics and sculptures. We were also responsible for the delivery of three individual theatres within SZDLC as well as, a cave replica depicting the local caves of Jebel Hafeet.
We were challenged with providing a wide variety of animal and bird sculptures without the use of furs and feathers due to the nature of the project and, successfully delivered in excess of 100 species using specialist airbrush and painting.
Al Ain Zoo Director General, Ghanim Al Hajeri said the philosophy of sustainability and conservation guided the project from its beginning, with 92% of construction waste either recycled, reused or reduced.
“The centre will educate visitors about the importance of sustainability and preserving resources,” Mr Al Hajeri said, adding that it reflects the history of the desert environment and the human adaptation to this nature. It is also an ideal model of environmentally-friendly buildings that use sustainable techniques.
The project has achieved a unique position in modern interactive education, reaching out to visitors of all ages, and BECK are proud to be part of the team delivering the project…