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Making the desert bloom: the UAE's restored wetlands

18 September 2019

The judges of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture selected an eclectic mix of winners this year. These included an amphibious bamboo school in Bangladesh, a wedge-shaped museum in the West Bank, and the Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah, UAE. The latter entry, created by Dubai architecture firm X-Architects, is the centerpiece of an ambitious restoration project that has seen a stagnant dump transformed into a flourishing natural ecosystem and popular visitor attraction. "The project sets a powerful precedent that encourages low-impact and environmentally conscious development in a region known for its propensity to go in the opposite direction," the award judges commented.