Palm-leaf Shelters
Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
The Sabla, meaning a shady place in the oasis in Arabic, is derived from the concept of recycling palm-leaf waste from the oasis into building construction nearby. It re-contextualises the buffer zone outside the Al Ain Oasis and brings a new use for a readily available renewable resource. The functionality of the building is in its modularity and prefabrication: one modular grid-shell system can be adjusted in width and height. Each grid-shell module is 8m x 8m in area and 4m high. Large scale prototypes were constructed to discover the behaviour and performance of the material. The fabric membrane roof covering provides a case study for a “hybrid solution” based on a mix between modern and traditional materials.

Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture
Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
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Associated Names
Completed 2014
576 m²
Variant Names
Palm-leaf Shelters
Building Usages
housing development
tent structures
Aga Khan Award for Architecture Nominee