The site chosen for the project is one of only a few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is still visible after tectonic activity elevated the bed to 100 metres above sea level. Arup and Grimshaw have worked with the existing natural ridges and ravines that traverse the site to design the buildings and walkways, within the spectacular undulating land.
Visitors will experience the entire flora of the Sultanate of Oman in just a few hours. The eight defined habitats of the country are sensitively arranged at the centre of the site, gracefully bounded by Jebel Sufra and the majestic Qurn Mubarak. Visitors will travel around the wadis, mountains and deserts of Oman within an immersive landscaped setting displaying only native species, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Two of the more sensitive habitats are enclosed within separate biomes to mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the unique external environments. The Northern Biome is a sinuous glass enclosure which re-creates the varied habitats of the Northern Mountains, including their ancient terraces. The Southern Biome and its shimmering undulating glass form will enclose the rich and varied habitats found in the Dhofar region, where visitors will be immersed in a moist and green forest ‘Khareef’ setting.
The buildings, along with the garden site, have been designed to achieve the globally recognised sustainable standard, LEED Platinum. With water such a precious resource, particularly in the region, Arup has developed a strategy for the irrigation and water features. Water is sourced sustainably and not a single drop is wasted.