Royal Academy for Nature Conservation


The project for an Academy was originally proposed to be on a site inside a nature conservancy reserve, but the architect convinced the client to use an adjacent abandoned quarry which is outside the reserve. The basic philosophy was that the building would use the parts of nature which have been injured in the past, instead of adding a new intervention on virgin land. Encompassing an academy that provides educational programmes on environment and features a high-end restaurant and craft, the Academy follows a quarry cliff cut-line, creating a linear addition of constructed stone to the bedrock. Arrival is via a stone bridge spanning 30 metres and the longest in Jordan to the mid-point between the restaurant and the Academy. The massive southern facade consists of very small windows with giant vertical blade-like stone cracks shearing into zero width. Corridors are defined by a crack in the ceiling that lets natural sunlight in. On the opposite side, the Academy touches the forest. The project illustrates how to use abandoned quarries that are found in the surrounding mountains in large numbers of 100 or more.

Architect: Khammash Architects
Client: Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Design: 2009-2011
Completed: 2014
Site area: 156’780 m2
Built area: 3’600 m2

— Made available by
Aga Khan Award for Architecture —

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