Tag: landscape design Dubai

lagoon01aerMy first mega-project, The Lagoons masterplan covered 540 hectares of mixed use. The international design competition was won by Urbis Hong Kong Limited and I joined the company as Senior Landscape Architect and Project Manager.

Within a few months I had relocated to Dubai to set up the company’s Dubai branch office and was later joined by a growing professional team of designers and project managers.

Adjacent to the site lies the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary; an artificially enhanced, semi-natural habitat; home to migratory flamingos and other Arabian wildlife.

I had the privilege of compiling flora and target fauna species lists, designing geophysical modelling for ecological function, recommending endemic plant species for conservation and writing a working paper with Mr. Sandy Duggie on the unique procurement strategy to be followed.

Our working papers and recommendations were accepted by the developer, Sama Dubai, the Dubai Municipality (Environmental Department), RAMSAR, WWT consultants and endorsed by a UNESCO scientist.

The project had progressed from concept design to tender, with quay walls constructed on the site creating artificial islands that were intended to be flooded with waters from the Dubai Creek… until the recession arrived, resulting in the project being placed on hold.

I sincerely hope that one day this project is fully implemented. The ecological improvements to the reserve’s buffer zone, and introduction of endemic plant species to the commercially available palette for the Gulf coast has potential to greatly enhance the ecological function of the area whilst preserving biodiversity.

The working papers I authored recommended artificial coral reef creation, the creation of Islamic art inspired salt sculptures which would utilise and neuralise the hyper saline impounded Gulf waters, and the creation of a living soil by harvesting and growing various fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with plants, reducing their stress and increasing water and nutrient absorption.

This children’s play garden design was inspired by landscape descriptions and features from Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’, and ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. As both books are full of references to the Orient, and to animals which occur in Dubai (Flamingos, Hedgehogs) the theme seemed appropriate.

The proposed centre piece to the croquet lawn sunken garden was a life size hologram of the Cheshire Cat, intended to appear and disappear from the branches of a 400 year old gnarled Olive tree, with bronze statues of characters from the books dotted around the garden.

The project is currently on hold.

creekfront mlp03
In 2007 Urbis HK Ltd. joined the Creekfront Project Dubai, and were commissioned to develop the landscape proposals for the southern shore of the Creek, an area of approximately 40 hectares, from the proposed Ferry Terminal to Al Seef Park, encompassing Bastakia (heritage and cultural district), the Ruler’s Court Promenade, mooring for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum’s yacht, and side streets adjacent to the Spice and Gold Soukhs.

Concept designs and design development were approved and a model constructed shortly before the project was placed on hold due to the global economic crisis.

I worked as Senior Project Manager and Senior Landscape Architect on this project, proposing hardscape, sculptural and planting solutions that referenced Bedouin and Emirati culture, as well as the maritime tradition of the Arabian Peninsula.