Thomas Heatherwick has been commissioned to transform a 125,000 square meter park in the heart of Abu Dhabi into a multifunctional “sunken oasis.” Inspired by “fractured desert crust,” the park is designed as a series of fragmented canopies that rise to form a three-dimensional landscape across the site. Beneath the cracked surface will be a series of interconnected public spaces cooled by lush vegetation that provide organic produce to local restaurants and space for community gardens.
Once complete in 2017, the “Al Fayah Park” will host a plethora of activities. The twenty meter high shaded garden is envisioned as “a place for families to gather and picnic, as well as a place for learning and festivals.” Visitors will find cafés, play spaces, a library, mosque, pools and streams, as well as indoor and outdoor arenas for live performances and local festivities.
“By creating partial shade for the planting,” described Heatherwick, “the canopy aims to reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation and so will improve the park’s energy efficiency and sustainability. Whilst providing the shade for the oasis in the daytime, the elevated plates also become a network of social and meeting places in the cooler evening hours.”