Leading UK engineers, architects and consultants will deliver the designs for the vast new Oman Botanic Garden.
Global engineering firm Arup (whose head office is in London) has joined forces with London-based Grimshaw Architects and Leicester-based design consultant Haley Sharpe Design. Together they will be responsible for the engineering, landscaping, architecture and interpretive designs for the Oman Botanic Garden.
The garden is set to be the largest such facility in the Arab world. It is located 35km from Muscat, in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains. It covers an area of 4.2 million square metres.
The site is one of only a few locations in the world where the ancient seabed is still visible. Tectonic activity elevated the bed to 100 m above sea level according to a statement from Arup.
Arup and Grimshaw have designed the buildings and walkways to take advantage of the undulating land created by the natural ridges and ravines that traverse the site.
The gardens will celebrate the botanic diversity of the sultanate. Eight defined habitats of Oman are arranged at the centre of the site. Visitors will experience the wadis, mountains and deserts of Oman within an immersive landscaped setting. The gardens will only display native species, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Two biomes will create sensitive habitats. The Northern Biome is a sinuous glass enclosure. It will mimic the habitats of the northern mountains, including their ancient terraces. The Southern Biome is created from shimmering undulating glass. It will enclose the varied habitats found in the Dhofar region. Visitors will be immersed in a moist and green forest setting.
“We have enjoyed the many unique challenges presented by the Oman Botanic Garden; from designing natural and authentic landscapes to recreating the cool mists of the Khareef,” says Ed Clark, Associate Director of Arup. “More than 700 of our multi-disciplinary engineers and specialist designers were engaged to explore and find solutions that would befit such an ambitious and creative brief. The Oman Botanic Garden must surely be one of the most marvellous projects in the world.”
He says that the buildings, along with the whole site, have been designed to achieve the globally recognised sustainable standard, Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum. As water is such a precious resource, Arup has developed a strategy that ensures not a single drop of water is wasted.
“The Oman Botanic Garden is an astonishing project with many layers of interwoven cultural and environmental significance,” says Keith Brewis, a partner at Grimshaw. “Its scale and diversity is truly world-leading, and we are honoured to work as the architects for a project that has the conservation of bio-diversity as a core design driver.”
Image courtesy of Arup.