London-based Grimshaw Architects, Arup, and Leicester-based Haley Sharpe Design (HSD) have jointly released renderings for what will become the largest botanical garden in the world. Located near Muscat in Oman, the park will cover over 1,000 acres and house only native species from across the country.
Planned for the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains, the site of the future Oman Botanic Garden is 328 feet above sea level and was selected for the dramatically twisting ridges and crags of the existing landscape. Elevated pathways will cross over simulated river valleys, mountains, and desert landscapes below.
Visitors will be able to walk through all eight of the country’s natural habitats recreated in one complex. Two separate but linked glass enclosures will hold the more sensitive Northern Biomes and Southern Biomes separately from the others.
Representing Oman’s sensitive Northern Mountains region, the Northern Biome will present visitors with a humidity and temperature-controlled facsimile of a terraced mountain scrubland. To the south, the Southern Biome will house a misty, self-contained green forest from Oman’s Dhofar region. Both biome buildings are long, sinuous glass greenhouses that mimic the hills found nearby. Despite being made nearly entirely of glass, the neighboring conservatories have been oriented to passively shade occupants during the day, with additional active shading in place to keep guests comfortable.
Other than the carefully managed ecosystems at the heart of the Oman Botanic Garden, the park will also hold a visitor center in addition to research and education facilities.
The LEED Platinum project has paid special attention to the water needs of the site as well. In a region of the world where water concerns are a very real issue, Arup was able to design systems optimized for plant irrigation with the least amount of waste possible.
Together Arup, Grimshaw, and HSD have provided full services for the Oman Botanic Garden, from master planning to construction design. The project is set to break ground sometime in the near future.