“When a man moves away from nature his heart becomes hard.” With each passing year and subsequent technological advancement, man is becoming more and more apathetic about the natural ecosystem he was once an indispensable part of. There has been unprecedented destruction of nature and its key elements like forests, foliage, wildlife and marine habitats in order to satisfy the whims and fancies of the human race. It has and will lead to cataclysmic reactions like global climate change, loss of habitat, depletion of natural resources and an increased risk of natural disasters.
Man can only understand nature and its components when he is ‘inside’ the natural ecosystem and not in some artificial built environment created by him. The human race needs to get up close and personal with natural habitats to try and understand the very essence of flora and fauna around it. He needs to understand Earth’s unique and diverse geography, nature systems like seasons, climates, food chains, wildlife and foliage and their symbiotic relationship with each other.
Amboseli National Park, located in Kajiado County, Kenya is a protected wildlife park i.e. 392 km2 in size at the core of an 8,000 km2 ecosystem that spreads across the Kenya-Tanzania border. Crowned by Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, the Amboseli National Parks is one of Kenya’s most popular parks. Amboseli comprises of five different habitats ranging from the dried-up bed of Lake Amboseli, wetlands with sulphur springs, the savannah and woodlands. Amboseli National Park offers some of the best opportunities to see African wildlife because the vegetation is sparse due to the long, dry months. The park is famous for being the best place in the world to get close to free-ranging bush elephants.
The aim of the competition is to design a free standing pavilion in the heart of Amboseli National park that would allow visitors new ways to view and experience the wilderness and be close to nature. The proposal must be a poetic response for a pavilion structure in a very sensitive environment that would become the ‘eyes and ears’ for visitors who want to connect with the natural ecosystem and reflect upon nature in its true spirit.
The pavilion should strive to become a ‘window’ for man to experience the natural vistas as a new viewpoint of reference. The pavilion should be a ‘zone of contemplation’ for the visitors that would transcend their olfactory, tactile and visual experiences.
The participants must respect the context and design a pavilion with minimal disturbance to the site. The volumetric and material composition should be modular and permeable that adds vitality and a sense of identity to the space. The pavilion should be a low energy structure designed on the ideas of durability and sustainability.
The pavilion should become a strong reference point that would generate awareness towards the preservation of nature and adopt a cohesive relationship with the various elements of nature.