National Bank of Oman
The inspiration for the landscape and site design proposals for the proposed Head Office of the National Bank of Oman is derived from the natural and cultural landscapes of Oman. The landscape of Oman is uniquely varied and highly scenic, and includes mountains, wadis, deserts, date palm and fruit orchards and many other typologies.
Oman’s man-made landscapes are very much related to the control and movement of water. Records show that the earliest known gardens developed around the gulf region at least 3,000 years ago. The Falaj system of irrigation is known to be over 2,000 years old and systems such as this would have enabled the creation of gardens, as well as transforming the landscape into a productive and fertile place, with characteristic date palms and other crops.
The relationship of traditional built forms of Omani architecture, such as forts, to the landscape has also been a source of inspiration. The forts typically rise dramatically out of the landscape, with visible rock outcrops forming part of the structure. Date palm orchards are also often located in association with the forts. The design concept is based on these landscapes and aims to create a microcosm of the wider Omani landscape. The atrium of the building is the wadi, with water flowing through a Falaj-inspired channel and out into the outdoor space. The water flows into pools and irrigates the lush planting in the entrance plaza space. The peripheral spaces are densely planted to approximate the orchards that are so characteristic of the landscape.
Landscape Concept Plan – KEY
- Entrance Plaza
Paved space with geometric patterning, stone seating, planters, Date Palm trees, lighting and water elements.
- Set Down Area
Continuous extension of plaza with bespoke bollards marking car lane.
- Eastern Perimeter Space
Planted with lush groundcover and Date Palm trees, allowing open views to the building and plaza.
- Northern and Southern Perimeter Spaces
Sequence of groundcover plants with linear stone elements oriented with the building, dense Date Palm planting and mounded areas with selected aggregate surfacing and organic shrub groupings. In views from these aspects, the building will appear to rise out of the orchards.
- Car Parks and Service Route
Planted with Date Palm and flowering shrubs, with gravel groundcovers.
- Water Elements
6a. Falaj channel emerges from building (under glass) feeds water steps feature. Paving pattern leads to pool (6b).
6b. Pool with stone element in centre, water emerging from stone.
6c. Falaj channel emerges from building (under glass) falls down steps, then spills into still pool at level of steps, creating sound and visual feature.
6d. Falaj channel emerges from building (under glass) feeds water steps feature with pool at base.
- Location: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
- Client: National Bank of Oman
- Year of Project: 2013 - 2017
- Project Team
- Architect: LOM Architects (London)
- Engineer: Buro Happold