In Abu Dhabi, A Desert Park With A Secret Garden

Thomas Heatherwick has redesigned the 30-acre Al Fayah Park in Abu Dhabi to embrace its desert setting.

WITH 60-FOOT-HIGH CANOPIES YOU CAN WALK ON, THOMAS HEATHERWICK’S AL FAYAH PARK RESEMBLES CRACKED DESERT ABOVE AND A SECRET GARDEN BELOW.

In Abu Dhabi, a grassy European-style park requires constant irrigation to counteract the sun’s intensity. With that in mind, the London-based architect Thomas Heatherwick plans to redesign the 30-acre Al Fayah Park to embrace the desert setting while providing a comfortable place for people to gather.

It features 65-foot-high canopies that shade gardens, streams and gathering spaces below.

Heatherwick Studio reconceives the Abu Dhabi public park in a way that ensures that the park is attuned to its climate. The park, which is scheduled for completion in 2017, includes 65-foot-high canopies that mimic the fractured look of a cracked desert landscape. Those same canopies shield a garden oasis from the heat and sun, reducing the amount of water lost to evaporation and improving the park’s energy efficiency.

The canopies mimic the fractured look of a cracked desert landscape.

Underneath these canopies, in the shade, visitors will find pools and streams, vegetable gardens, spaces for performances and festivals, a cafe, a library, and a mosque. In the cooler evening hours, people can gather ontop of the canopies, to wander.

The design was envisioned “as a way of celebrating the beauty of the desert and its distinct surrounding landscape,” the architects write. “Instead of denying the presence of the desert that the city is built on, we set ourselves the task of making a park out of the desert itself.”

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