Oman Botanic Garden to become the world’s largest ecological oasis
Plans for a botanic garden sheltered beneath two giant biomes in the Omani desert have been unveiled.
Spanning a 420 hectare site at the foot of the Al Hajar Mountains, 35 kilometres from the capital of Muscat, the Oman Botanic Garden will consists of two boomerang-shaped glass biomes, a visitor centre, and education and research facilities.
Located 2,000 metres above sea-level, 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.
Aiming to celebrate and conserve Oman’s botanic diversity, the design by Arup engineering, Grimshaw Architects and Haley Sharpe Design 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.
Commenting on the scale and complexity of the brief, Arup Associate Director and Project Manager Ed Clarke advised “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.
“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, using building materials suited to the climate.
The development forms part of Oman’s recently launched National Strategy for Tourism 2040, which aims to achieve a 6% rise in tourism contributions and a near doubling of visitor numbers to five million annually.
Construction of the Oman Botanic Garden will commence imminently.
Images show artists' impressions of the completed Oman Botanic Garden.
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