Thomas Heatherwick just unveiled plans for an incredible semi-subterranean public park in Abu Dhabi that features a fragmented canopy to keep visitors cool. Al Fayah Park would transforms the desert into a place of relaxation for locals to enjoy. The sprawling park is topped with a desert-inspired floating roof canopy supported by staggered columns.
The site of Al Fayah is currently a European-style park with grassy hills that are expensive to maintain and require lots of water. To combat this overuse of precious resources, Heatherwick designed a series of interlocking canopies that emulate the cracked surface of the desert. The canopy fragments hug a central stream that feeds the plants, trees, grassy knolls and vegetable gardens throughout the 125,000 meter park.
In addition to recreational areas the park will be home to a public library, a mosque, an outdoor cinema and performances spaces, all nestled beneath the fragmented canopy. The park is designed as a sunken oasis to provide cool shade and protection from the hot desert sun. During cooler times of day, the canopies double as elevated sitting areas for meeting or taking in views of Abu Dhabi.