The Making of
Sheik Zayed Desert Learning Center
Talik Chalabi

05/06/19, 7 PM
Die Angewandte, Stubenring 3, 1010 Wien, Hörsaal 1

The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre is both a museum and a research centre for desert landscapes and environmental issues, located within the Wildlife Park Resort of Al Ain, UAE. The iconic snake-like shape of the building results from the concept of a double spiral loop around two inner courtyards. In close cooperation with the structural engineers Bollinger+Grohmann, Chalabi Architects developed a sophisticated concrete structure with the facade lines and openings arranged exactly according to the lines of force. The architectural concept was optimised not only in terms of spatial experience and usability, but also to reduce thermal loads. By combining active and passive solar energy use with water- and energy-saving systems, the building was able to meet the highest sustainability criteria. It was credited with LEED Platinum and Estidama 5 Pearl certification and recognized with the Austrian Green Building Award.


Talik Chalabi, together with his brother Jafaar, runs the international architecture firm Chalabi Architects, based in Vienna and Abu Dhabi. Talik will talk about the special requirements of sustainable construction in the desert, the complex spatial and structural concept and the challenges of the construction process.