A collaboration of engineering and architectural expertise has resulted in a botanic garden design that will become the world’s largest eco-park and serve to conserve hundreds of endangered botanic species.
With guidance from his Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin, the combined talents of Grimshaw Architects, Arup Engineering and Haley Sharpe Design have created the Oman Botanic Garden. Set to be the largest eco-park within the Arabian Peninsula, the garden will represent the country’s diverse botanic interests and preserve hundreds of endangered species. Education and research facilities have also been incorporated into the design, together with a visitor centre to support public interest in the botanical venture.
Situated in the Al Hajar Mountains region, the Oman Botanic Garden features unique site conditions. 35 kilometres from Muscat, this region is one of the few locations in the world where the seabed is still visible. Due to tectonic activity, the bed is elevated 100 metres above sea level, meaning the design needed to accommodate this unique topography. Working with the natural ridges and ravines onsite, the designers articulated the buildings and walkways to work with the site.
“The Oman Botanic Garden is an astonishing project with many layers of interwoven cultural and environmental significance,” says Keith Brewis of 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 biodiversity as a core design driver.”
As the new complex will cater to educational programs combined with regular public visits, the onsite programs incorporate passive and active shade. Natural daylight is optismised, and cooling systems are designed for efficient plant irrigation. In a bid to strike a balance between visitor comfort and the ecological needs of the site, careful consideration of sunlight orientation, weather patterns and human behaviour has gone into the design for the facility to achieve maximum flow and effectiveness.
“At Arup, we have enjoyed the many unique challenges presented by the Oman Botanic Garden,” claims Ed Clarke, Associate Director and Project Manager. ”From designing natural and authentic landscapes to recreating the cool mists of the Khareef.”
“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 marvelous projects in the world,” he adds.
Images courtesy of © Arup/Grimshaw