Allies and Morrison, Architecture, Heritage, Madinat Al Irfan, Masterplan, Oman, Urbanism

New images and details revealed for Allies and Morrison’s Oman city masterplan

Allies and Morrison has revealed new renderings of its Madinat Al Irfan masterplan; a new city for Oman which will be built around a desert valley.

The project recently won the Big Urban Major Projects Award at the 16th MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards, and will be developed over the course of 30 years.

The 624 hectares project will be able to house a living, working, and visiting population of 280,000.

The architects’ aim is to retain the landscape, using the valley as the centre of the masterplan with a series of bridges that connects the city’s various neighbourhoods or ‘towns’ across the wadi itself.

The neighbourhoods will involve a dense network of streets, which according to the architects, “embraces Omani culture and heritage by learning from the past to inform a future built environment.”

“The new city has grown out of an understanding of the geography and culture with a wadi at its heart,” the architects said.

“Understanding the symbolic importance of the wadis in Omani culture and making best use of its particular terrain, the whole development has been structured around their setting, with small grain villages located in the areas of increased topography, and urban centres in the plateau-like areas of the site, each with their own distinct character.”

The architects explained that the bridges “define the character of Irfan”.

“More than crossings, they are place-making elements that act as gathering points and retention of structure, maintaining the water basins, creating an identifiable ‘City of Bridges’.”

The development will include a central business district, a central souk and a mosque. Cultural instituions and hotels will be set on an elevated plateau, while the lower parts of the masterplan will feature various housing structures, alongside a university and a small souk.

Sustainability was integrated into the design from the initial stages, with street layouts compactly designed to allow for natural shading that encourages movement on foot rather than the use of cars, in order to reduce carbon emissions.