Oasis of superlatives

The architects of Studio Grimshaw want to literally put down roots in the Sultanate of Oman with a "Botanical Garden. This is to transform the barren desert into a blooming oasis by using all possibilities.

If one travels to the mysterious country in the Middle East, one must be well prepared for its different regions! They change faster than one would expect. Next to the golden grains of sand that pile up into pyramid-high dunes, the Hajar Mountains with their jagged rock massif suddenly catch the eye. Yes, Oman has many different facets and a correspondingly colorful flora.

It is precisely this diversity that is now to be artificially concentrated on a single spot, just outside the capital Muscat ..

On the gigantic area of 420 hectares, this botanical garden is to become the largest of its kind. And in the middle of the Oman desert.

At the foot of the Hajar Mountains, embedded in the rocky landscape, the "Botanical Garden of Oman" is to be created. With an incredible area of 420 hectares, this largest oasis in the Arabian Peninsula will soon be home to all kinds of growing species.

Seabed on land

But it’s not just the eerie scale and purpose that make the planned garden special. The future site is also one of only a few places on this planet where traces of the primeval seabed can still be seen with the naked eye. From an altitude of 100 meters, one encounters a kind of seabed on the mainland.

The architects of Studio Grimshaw took advantage of this fact when planning the gigantic garden. Her design borrows from this natural and literally ancient history of the area in terms of building form, shape and materials.

Oasis of nature

In concrete terms, the dependencies on the special geological and historical conditions and the natural topography have been recognized as an opportunity. This means that the existing natural ridges and ravines that crisscross the site were integrated into the overall concept from the outset.

This is to create the impression of a fusion of greenhouses and surroundings. Everything under the motto: Here nature is at home.

In artificial capsules, the different ..

… climatic regions of Oman are simulated in one place.

Oasis as a flagship

However, the purpose of the spectacular new building is only partly to preserve species. Rather, the goal is to give Oman a new flagship. One that is also causing a stir internationally. "This oasis will allow visitors to take a journey through the impressive flora and fauna of Oman in just one place," is the drumbeat ahead of the planned opening at the end of 2020. In concrete terms, this means that you will only see native species here. But this is also objectively exceptional enough. Many of these are found nowhere else in the world.

New sultan, new luck

For this very reason, the protection of the incredible diversity of plants is so important to the new Sultan Haitham ibn Tariq, he says. So this spectacular building would have to be made, whose architecture is not only adapted to the environment in which it is to be planted. The architects emphasize that its appearance should also be conducive to the preservation of the flora that will soon be native to it.

How exactly this will happen is still a mystery, but at least a few details have been revealed in the meantime. All known, characteristic Omani plant species are to be established around the botanical garden.

Two secluded worlds

For this purpose, eight different habitats, which are actually distributed in Oman, are recreated on the spot – from the dry desert to the rich monsoon cloud forests. Two of these artificial living worlds will even be housed in covered and so-called "biomes".

The individual "biomes" should adapt to the prevailing ..

… adapt to the landscape and merge with it.

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