PROJECTS

STUDIO

AL     FAYAH     PARK   |

The studio was asked to reconceive a major piece of land in Abu Dhabi as a public park. The existing public space evoked the style of a European park by covering the desert with a blanket of grass which required a significant amount of water to maintain itself under the scorching sun. Instead of denying the presence of the desert that the city is built on, the studio set itself the task of making a park out of the desert itself, celebrating its beauty and distinctive landscape.

Interested in the natural patterns of the local desert landscape, the studio began to look at the shapes created when earth cracks from the heat of the sun. It also became fascinated by how, in previous times, people living in such intense heat had grown their vegetables in the shade of palm trees to reduce the strength of the sun’s rays.

Experimenting with the idea of a structure drawn from a fractured desert crust, the studio’s design evolved as a series of cracked pieces of desert earth raised on columns to form a gentle dome across the site. Between the fissures a lush oasis is revealed beneath. Protected from the harsh excess of the desert sun, this partially-shaded garden of plants and mature trees forms a series of interconnected recreational spaces for families to gather and picnic, with pools and streams, cafes, play spaces, a library and community vegetable gardens. In the cooler evening hours the elevated plates above become a network of social and meeting places.

Client

Salama Bint Hamdan
Al Nahyan Foundation

Location

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Appointment

2010

Size

125,000sqm

Collaborators

AKT II, BEEMME, GHD, RAPM, Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, Transsolar,

Studio team

Etain Ho, Alexander Laing, Ruby Law, Michael Lewis, Frederick Pittman, Julio Poleo, Enrique Pujana, Deyan Saev, Thomas Selby, Luke Snow, Ondrej Tichý, Sophia Tang, Marcus Wallbaum, Meera Yadave, Hayley Henry, Pikyan Luk, Jeff Powers, Matthew Pratt, Antoine van Erp, Mat Cash, Katerina Dionysopoulou, May Tang