MESA grabs US award for Abu Dhabi park

Sowa Island

Landscape architecture, planning, and urban design firm MESA has picked up the 2011 Award of Excellence in Communications from the Texas Chapter of the Association of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for its design of the presentation report for Sowwah Island Central Park and Spanish Steps in Abu Dhabi.

As the prime consultant for the Sowwah Island project, MESA was tasked with creating development strategies for a unique urban park to be located within the heart of the developing Abu Dhabi Financial District.

MESA developed a concept to utilise leftover urban spaces with cultural, recreational and commercial opportunities as well as venues for public art, performance and connections with multiple modes of transportation.


Another challenge of the project was that the park experience had to be powerful on the ground and when viewed from the upper floors of the nearby high rise buildings. This vertical component of the design became the perspective for the concept report.

In the presentation of the design, the first chapter depicted the design from the highest level, with each subsequent chapter descending closer to the ground level. By so doing, the narrative switched from the macro to the more intimate level of interaction and experience at the ground level.

“Parks and well-designed outdoor spaces engage and activate communities. Everyone at MESA is proud of our work on this project and we are looking forward to working with the people of Abu Dhabi to bring this project to reality,” said Stan Cowan, principal at MESA.

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