The Madinat Al Irfan development project in Oman has won the Big Urban Major Projects Award at the 16th MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards, after competing against other major international projects, reports ConstructionweekOnline.
The results of the competition were announced at a gala dinner held in mid-March, in Cannes, France.
According to Oman News Agency (ONA), the project bagged the award because of its design, which combines details of traditional Omani architecture and modern civilisation, as well as the overall strategy that has been adopted in the laying of its foundations.
Designed by Allies and Morrison, is an “exemplar urban project, acting as a model for future sustainable development for growing cities [and] will create a new capital district for the Muscat region, embracing Omani culture and heritage by learning from the past to inform a future built environment” said the architects website.
“Our response to the brief for Madinat Al Irfan, which will have a living, working and visiting population of 280,000, emerges from Oman’s considered policy of sustainable development and promotion of its cultural heritage,” it stated.
The design of the Madinat Al Irfan project, which is being developed by Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), is to be the nucleus of urban planning in the heart of Muscat.
Abdul Wahid al-Farsi, director of external affairs at Omran, said: “The idea of Madinat Al Irfan project sprung from the vision of establishing an urban centre of the highest level in Muscat.”
He added that Omran aims to help the sultanate improve its economy by building world-class projects that preserve the natural beauty of the Omani environment, and by building destinations that can attract investments in the growing tourism sector.
The architects said: “The new city has grown out of an understanding of the geography and culture with a wadi at its heart. Wadis, seasonal water courses that erode the desert plateau to carve a distinct terrain, shape the patterns of human settlement. Understanding the symbolic importance of the wadis in Omani culture and making best use of its particular terrain, the whole development has been structured around their setting, with small grain villages located in the areas of increased topography, and urban centres in the plateau-like areas of the site, each with their own distinct character.
“Each of these centres connect with bridges across the Wadi Park to villages located on the southern side of the overall development. These bridges define the character of Irfan; more than crossings, they are place-making elements that act as gathering points and retention of structure, maintaining the water basins, creating an identifiable ‘City of Bridges’.”
The pattern of urban settlement consists of complex geometries and simple buildings, compactly designed with natural shading that encourages movement on foot rather than the use of cars and provides outside comfort in the hot environment.