Sultanate of Oman, Royal Court Affairs
The Oman Museum Across Ages is to be a celebration of the country’s economic, cultural and social renaissance since the 1970s. A balance between tradition and modernity is at the heart of our proposal for the new museum which will tell the story of Oman from prehistory to the present day.
Our competition entry, with Buro Happold and Grant Associates, proposed a circular screened roof which represents the reassertion of Oman’s unity since the Renaissance as well as filtering sunlight and air. The roof shelters and encapsulates a series of ‘desert settlement’ buildings which are suggestive of the diverse cultures and landscapes of Oman. As a whole, it describes both oneness and diversity and provides the backdrop for a narrative journey through time.
The museum will provide a whole range of experiences, beginning with a grand sense of arrival and suspenseful anticipation of what is to come and concludes with a series of calm gardens, each radiating from the building. Themed to capture different aspects of Omani landscape, the gardens are to be planted with native colour and scent and will enhance the cooling effects to the main spaces in the building.
A very strong passive design approach has been taken, upon which low carbon technologies are overlaid. Our proposals aim to work with, not against, the desert climate to create a sustainable building that can be a symbol for the future.