Oman Botanic Garden is designed to celebrate the country’s botanic diversity and to be enjoyed by Oman’s population for generations to come, with guidance from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. Located 35km from Muscat, the Oman Botanic Garden covers 420 hectares, making it the largest in the Arabian Peninsula and amongst the largest in the world. 

The chosen site in the Al Hajar Mountains foothills will be home to a visitor centre and education & research facilities, with the Garden centred around two awe-inspiring biomes. The team, led by Arup alongside Grimshaw and Haley Sharpe Design (HSD) collaboratively worked to deliver the engineering, landscape design, architectural and interpretive design that suits the ambitious and creative brief. 

Arup was challenged to design natural and authentic landscapes that varied from lush ‘Khareef’ forests to agricultural terraces and salt flats. Our landscape architects worked with existing natural ridges and ravines that traverse the site to design the buildings and walkways, incorporating gardens, play spaces and shaded routes.

We used innovative Building Information Modelling (BIM) to create a full site model inclusive of individual database tags for every single plant used at the site. The database will ensure the design’s integrity in construction and maintenance. 

Bringing the landscape of Oman to life

Visitors will travel around Oman’s mountains and deserts with an immersive landscape setting, displaying only native species that cannot be found anywhere else globally. Two of the more sensitive habitats are enclosed within separate Arup-designed biomes to mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the unique external environments. 

The glass enclosure of the Northern Biome recreates the varied habitats of the Northern Mountains, including their ancient agricultural terraces. Whilst the Southern Biome encloses a green forest ‘Khareef’ setting found in the Dhofar region. The form, shape and materials used within our design have been expertly selected in response to atmospheric conditions and the natural topography. Passive and active shading has been incorporated, alongside ultraviolet light controls, cooling and plant irrigation. 

Sustainable building design 

Our team designed the project to rigorous sustainability standards which will be evaluated under LEED, with the buildings at the centre of the Garden designed to achieve the highest LEED Platinum rating. 

With water a precious resource, Arup developed a sustainable water strategy for the project. All irrigation and water-feature water resources will be supplied from a sustainable Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) supply and will be treated onsite to exceed a safe water quality. Waste water will be reprocessed for reuse using a plant-based treatment system that ensures not a single drop of water is wasted.