Architecture, Arup, Grimshaw, Oman, Oman Botanic Garden

Grimshaw and Arup design Oman Botanic Garden to be world’s largest ecological site

Grimshaw Architects, in collaboration with Arup Engineering and Haley Sharpe Design, has unveiled the design for the Oman Botanic Garden, set to become one of the largest of its kind in the world, and within the Arabian Peninsula.

Images courtesy of Grimshaw.

Featuring two biodomes, the botanic park aims to celebrate and conserve Oman’s botanic diversity, featuring hundreds of endangered flora. The project will also feature a visitor centre, as well as education and research facilities.

The various facilities are “nestled within the natural ravines and ridges that traverse the site minimising disturbance to the existing terrain,” the architects said.

The project is located at foot of the Al Hajar Mountains, 35km from the capital, Muscat,  and is one of the few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is visible after being elevated 100m above sea level.

The architects and engineers have used the existing terrain of the site to inform the positioning of the buildings and walkways, which are integrated within the landscape.

“The eight defined habitats of the country are sensitively arranged at the centre of the site, bound by Jebel Sufra and the majestic Qurn Mubarak,” the architects said.

“The most sensitive of Oman’s habitats are enclosed within the two biomes, which mimic the species’ natural habitat.”

The forms, shape and materials of buildings have been selected in response to atmospheric conditions and the natural topography of the land, including passive and active shading, UV light controls, cooling and plant irrigation that are integrated throughout the gardens. 

The design was also informed by external elements such as sunlight, weather patterns and human behaviour in order to preserve the county’s endangered species and huge variety of native flora.

“The Oman Botanic Garden is an astonishing project with many layers of interwoven cultural and environmental significance. Its scale and diversity is truly world-leading,” said Keith Brewis, partner at Grimshaw.

Grimshaw has recently opened its Dubai office, located in the Dubai Design District (d3).

The firm will also be taking part in the fifth edition of the designMENA Summit, where associate principal, Matthew Utley will be giving a talk about sustainable urbanism. See full agenda for designMENA Summit 2017 here. 

The Britsh architects have also designed the Sustainability Pavilion for Dubai Expo 2020, feauturing ‘solar trees’.