Thursday, November 16, 2017

Arup to design giant botanical garden in Oman

Leading UK-based engineering firm Arup has joined hands with architect Grimshaw and design consultant Haley Sharpe Design to deliver the engineering, landscaping, architecture and interpretive designs for the Oman Botanic Garden, the largest such facility in the Arab world.

Covering a 4.2 million sq m area, the Oman Botanic Garden is located 35 km from Muscat, in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains.

The site chosen for the project is one of only a few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is still visible after tectonic activity elevated the bed to 100 metres above sea level, said a statement from Arup.

It has jointly worked with Grimshaw on the existing natural ridges and ravines that traverse the site to design the buildings and walkways, within the spectacular undulating land.

On completion, it will become one of the largest botanical gardens in the world celebrating the sultanate’s botanic diversity, which will be enjoyed by the people of Oman for generations to come, said the top UK engineering consultancy.

Two biomes which mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the unique external environments will house a significant array of native fauna and flora, many of which are endangered, it added.

Visitors will experience the entire flora of Oman in just a few hours. The eight defined habitats of the country are sensitively arranged at the centre of the site, gracefully bounded by Jebel Sufra and the majestic Qurn Mubarak.

Visitors will get to travel around the wadis, mountains and deserts of Oman within an immersive landscaped setting displaying only native species, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, said the statement from Arup.

Two of the more sensitive habitats are enclosed within separate biomes to mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the unique external environments. The Northern Biome is a sinuous glass enclosure which re-creates the varied habitats of the Northern Mountains, including their ancient terraces.

The Southern Biome and its shimmering undulating glass form will enclose the rich and varied habitats found in the Dhofar region, where visitors will be immersed in a moist and green forest ‘Khareef’ setting.

"At Arup 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," remarked Ed Clark, the associate director.

"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 added.

According to him, the buildings, along with the garden site, have been designed to achieve the globally recognised sustainable standard, Leed Platinum.

With water such a precious resource, particularly in the region, Arup has developed a strategy for the irrigation and water features. Water is sourced sustainably and not a single drop is wasted, he noted.

On the challenges, Keith Brewis, a partner at Grimshaw, said: "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, and we are honoured to work as the architects for a project that has the conservation of bio-diversity as a core design driver," he added.-TradeArabia News Service

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