Duo of biomes at centre of Oman Botanic Garden

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
– Keith Brewis, partner, Grimshaw Architects

Plans for a botanic garden sheltered beneath a duo of biomes in the Omani desert have been unveiled by Arup, Grimshaw Architects and Haley Sharpe Design (hsd).

The Oman Botanic Garden spans 420 hectares (1,037 acres) on the Arabian Peninsula and consists of two boomerang-shaped glass biomes, a visitor centre and education and research facilities.

Located in the north of the country, 35km (22m) from Muscat at the foot of the Al Hajar Mountains, the biomes represent two very different sides of the local climate and environment and will house a large number of endemic and endangered plant species.

The Northern Biome will immerse visitors in the mountainous terrain to the north of the site, while the Southern Biome will recreate the lush green vegetation created by the khareef (a monsoon season unique to southern Oman and surrounding region). The moist atmosphere created by the khareef supports a special ecosystem known as the Arabian Peninsula coastal fog desert, with a wide variety of plantlife unique to the area.

Elsewhere in the gardens, visitors will experience native flora from other parts of Oman, with zones dedicated to the wadis, mountains and desert landscapes.

Arup’s Ed Clarke, associate director and project manager, commented on the scale and complexity of the brief. “We’ve 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,” he said. “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 site has been designed to meet the LEED Platinum certificate for sustainability, with a special irrigation system to ensure no water is wasted. The design also makes use of shading and natural light and chooses building materials suited to the climate of the area.

“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,” said Grimshaw partner Keith Brewis.

Alisdair Hinshelwood, director at interpretative designers hsd, added: “We have relished working on a project where the botanical, landscape and cultural heritage of Oman is being expressed through the detailed scientific research, technical design and sheer creative enthusiasm of the entire team, client and design alike.”

Working for the Royal Court and the Sultan of Oman Qaboos bin Said Al Said, construction is set to start imminently.

Oman’s Ministry of Tourism recently launched its National Strategy for Tourism 2040, which includes a 6 per cent rise in tourism contributions and a near doubling of visitor numbers to five million annually.

“These figures will be achieved by promoting Oman as a year-round destination for tourists – with water sports, mountain escapades and luxury hotels included in a new summer campaign designed for visitors from the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” Maitha Al Mahrouqi, under secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, told Attractions Management earlier this year.

Read the interview with Al Mahrouqi here.

oman botanic gardens  oman  arup  grimshaw  hsd  sultan of oman  Alisdair Hinshelwood  Ed Clarke  Keith Brewis 
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Plans for a botanic garden sheltered beneath a duo of biomes in the Omani desert have been unveiled by Arup, Grimshaw Architects and Haley Sharpe Design (hsd). The Oman Botanic Garden spans 420 hectares (1,037 acres) on the Arabian Peninsula and consists of two boomerang-shaped glass biomes, a visitor centre and education and research facilities. Located in the north of the country, 35km (22m) from Muscat at the foot of
CLD,VAT,ARC,DES
An aerial view of the Oman Botanic Garden / Arup/Grimshaw
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