Worlds of leisure and commerce collide at Snøhetta's sculptural Oman fish market

A sinuous waterfront landmark has opened along the lively corniche in Muttrah on the coast of Oman, bringing together commerce and leisure at the nation’s largest harbour.

Designed by architects Snøhetta, the Muttrah Fish Market is a hub for the local fishing industry but is also a focal point and destination for both the community and international tourists.

Located close to the city’s original fish market, built in 1960, the 4,000sq m (43,000sq ft) complex has been conceived as a public meeting space where local fishermen and tourists can meet under the same sweeping shaded canopy, the design of which is inspired by Arabic calligraphy.

The project’s architectural concept is focused on the playful qualities of light and shadow, with the canopy’s aluminium fins providing an ephemeral appearance and intricate shading patterns, as well as natural ventilation. The roof also provides a complex counterpoint to the simple solidity of the concrete structure below.

Coffee shops, a rooftop restaurant and large social spaces feature throughout the marketplace, integrated alongside refrigeration, packaging and storage facilities and more than 100 stalls selling fish, fruit and vegetables.

A double radial wall defines the spine of the market and provides a focal point for visitors navigating through the space.

“Seen from afar, one can observe how the curved wall relates to the radial shape of the corniche and the wider bay area, interacting with the street by exposing the stairs from the roof terraces in the openings along the corniche,” said Snøhetta in a design statement.

“Referencing both the former waterfront and the continuation of the corniche, the fish market defines the boundaries of public space, interconnecting the city, the mountains, and the waterfront.”

Oman is currently investing millions in waterfront leisure destinations as the country attempts to maximise its attraction to tourists. Large-scale mixed-use projects are being developed in the coastal town of Barka – where a theme park, waterpark, wildlife park, equestrian centre and science and technology centre are all plannedand the centuries-old Sultan Qaboos Port in the province of Muscat.

Oman  Snøhetta  Muttrah Fish Market  tourism  architecture  design  Gulf of Oman  leisure  
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A sinuous waterfront landmark has opened along the lively corniche in Muttrah on the coast of Oman, bringing together commerce and leisure at the nation’s largest harbour. Designed by architects Snøhetta, the Muttrah Fish Market is a hub for the local fishing industry but is also a focal point and destination for both the community and international tourists. Located close to the city’s original fish market, built in 1960, the
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The roof canopy provides a complex counterpoint to the simple solidity of the concrete structure below / Firas Al Raisi, Luminosity Productions
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