Landscape at 50
Madina Al Irfan
Staff from Leeds Beckett who went to work on Madina Al Irfan:
- Tom Armour (graduated in 1982)
- Alex Brown (graduated in 2012)
- Nicole Gonzalez-Tarrio (graduated in 2006)
- Esther Kilner (graduated in 2012)
- Amy McAbendroth (graduated in 2009)
- Emma Sharpe MA LAD (graduated in 2012)
- Chris Wright (graduated in 2015)
- Emily Woodason (graduated in 2009)
- Justyn Nathan (graduated in 2013)
Madinat Al Irfan is a 700-hectare, 5 million sqm planned urban extension in Muscat, Oman -a sustainable and low-carbon new city near Muscat International Airport. The comprehensive scope, scale, and 40-year timeline of the project will ensure it has national and regional impact.
Won on the basis of an invited international competition, facilitated by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Arup and Allies and Morrison Architects developed a design concept based on the dramatic topography of the site.
Madinat Al Irfan has been conceived as a cluster of neighbourhoods, each with its own character, linked by walkable streets, public transport, and well considered infrastructure. Originally thought out by the Government’s Supreme Council for Planning, to be an exemplar and sustainable urban centre, the master plan is based around the concepts of place making and sustainability. The project will address the most critical challenges faced by Oman today - traffic congestion, rising energy and water demand, climate change, the need for economic diversification and erosion of environmental quality.
This landscape-led approach benefits Madinat Al Irfan by introducing opportunities for urban food production and palm plantations, restoring historic water flows and ecology. Buildings and open spaces will use features such as deep window reveals, overhangs, awnings, cornices, arcades, water features, trees, and pavilions to reduce the demand for mechanical cooling.
Madinat Al Irfan also responds to the desire for social sustainability and community building, through its emphasis on walkability, dense mixed-use neighbourhoods, and the incorporation of heritage and culture in land use, open spaces and built form.
Madinat Al Irfans will provide a new model of urban design and planning not only for Oman but for the entire region. The plan rejects the car-dominated, resource-hungry and soulless urbanism of the past three decades and offers a visionary and implementable alternative for future growth.