Perhaps the dry desert landscape of Oman may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of lush forests, but the Arabian nation is getting a massive infusion of greenery with the world’s largest botanical garden. Showcasing the country’s rich bio-diversity, the Oman Botanic Garden – designed by Arup, Grimshaw and Haley Sharpe Design – will be a whopping 1,037 acres of land filled with native flora, with two beautiful biomes housing the country’s most unique plant species.
Located in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains in the Sultanate of Oman, the botanical garden’s site is one of the few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is still visible after the landscape was elevated by tectonic activity. Working with this unique landscape, the architects designed a complex that would blend into the Mars-esque environment.
Visitors to the gardens will enjoy open walkways that run through the undulating landscape, winding through the wadis, mountains and desert plains as they enjoy the impressive botanic diversity. Inside the two biomes, which house the most unique or sensitive flora, the interior environments were carefully designed to mimic the natural temperature and humidity of the plants’ native climate. Along with the visitors center, the complex will have additional spaces for education and research facilities dedicated to protecting the region’s ample bio-diversity.
The garden’s buildings and the landscape architecture were all designed to meet the standards of LEED Platinum. Making the design sustainable was quite a challenge given the region’s water scarcity. Thanks to advanced systems, the entire complex will operate with a grey water irrigation system that works in collaboration with sustainably-sourced water.