Selected Entries 2017
KALAMETIYA NATURE CENTRE
City School of Architecture | Colombo
Wetland eco systems play a vital role in buffering adverse changes in the sea protecting the human inhabitations. Over the years, Sri Lanka has been experiencing rapid loss of these eco systems due to anthropogenic factors. Apart from the provision of eco system functions, these wetlands consisting of mangrove forests are instrumental in supporting the livelihoods of the local coastal communities.
A “Nature Centre” is proposed in Kalametiya, a scenic wetland located on the south coast of Sri Lanka in Hambantota. Kalametiya harbors many different ecosystems like mangroves, scrubland, reed beds, grassland, seasonal ponds, many indigenous and migratory species of birds making this wetland unique.
The nature centre aids in the research of saline birds and the mangrove species in order to conserve and protect such eco systems and biodiversity and it’s wildlife. This nature centre aims at being a localized centre which monitors the water purity, the birds and it’s migratory patterns and morphology, as well as the mangrove forest cover in relation to Kalametiya Sanctuary.
The nature centre is spread in 3 zones: awareness arena, the research zone and the lodging zone. The research zone consists of three research facilities in order to study the flora, saline birds and water of the sanctuary.
The awareness arena consists of a botany awareness arena which has a canopy walk and interactive training sessions within the tree cover. The ornithology awareness arena fosters bird watching and train visitors how to identify and observe birds. The unique fact about this arena is the bird hide restaurant which fosters quiet dining and bird watching reducing noise pollution to the environment.
This centre will offer visitors information, short term and long term research opportunities with onsite lodging.
The building’s aim is to be one with the environment, fully camouflaged hence the use of bamboo as the primary structural element which in term doesn’t cause damage to the environment. The natural colours and low rise structures spanning no more than 3 floors will stay clear of the bird collision zone and foster bird friendly architecture. This would be a proto type facility on how to build a temporary structure in such sensitive site conditions with close proximity to the sanctuary. A structural system which is less harmful and touches the earth lightly will be adapted.
This centre would be the 1st of it’s kind as it fosters the importance of conserving wetlands and its ecology of mangroves and saline birds.
Architecture can bring people and nature closer. This project connects architecture with nature and nature to architecture looking at architecture as a frame work where nature can slowly take over it’s structure. It’s important for architects to rethink our way of living and recycling, using materials that generate fast and gives a low foot print.