The competition to masterplan Muscat, Oman’s new district, Al-Irfan, is over. Organized by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), five teams were chosen to submit proposals for the development project. Of those five, international firm Allies and Morrison has been selected to oversee the design process. The firm will be working in with the Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran) to develop a site of over 7.4 million square meters into a thriving urban center that will provide business and residential opportunities for the people of Oman.
In the past, we’ve told you about the AA Visiting School, a worldwide network organized by the Architectural Association School of Architecture in collaboration with each country they visit. They have conducted events and workshops all over the world including Beijing, Madrid, San Francisco, Santiago, Sao Paulo and Singapore among others.
Some months ago, they continued with their events in Tehran, Iran and Muscat, Oman. In recent years Iran has emerged as a cultural and economic hub within the Middle East; with its illustrious history in architecture it offers a fertile ground for research and investigation into a number of topics ranging from manufacturing to urbanism. Tehran, its capital city, has become a major laboratory for contemporary cultural production in terms of architecture and has recently undergone massive changes to its infrastructure and urban boundaries to cater for expansion.
Oman has been careful and cautions in its expansion and approach to development, with recent events in the region it is now set to profit with massive increase in tourism. With the existence of a void in architectural thinking and identity in Oman it will be incredibly interesting to see how its will approach issues relating to architecture and urbanism. You can see some photos of the workshop after the break.