The Majlis Oman

Created by bringing together a dramatic natural landscape, a traditional architectural heritage, and a monarch’s vision for consultative governance. The landscape for the new parliament house of Oman is a symbol of national pride and culture.
The dramatic site exemplifies the landscape character of Muscat. Rugged oxide brown mountains contrast in texture and colour of the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Oman.

(Muscat in Arabic means, place of falling. It is the place where mountains meet the sea.)
The Omani people are proud of a long architectural heritage with a distinctive character. The design of the new parliament buildings and landscape draws on Oman’s rich architectural heritage. A monumental scale endows the building and landscape as a place of national importance.
The landscape design began as an exercise in addressing scale and proportion in context of the building itself and the surrounding landscape.

How to manage a 400m long building across a site falling 12 m? How to ensure elegant landscape foregrounds to views of the great halls?

The lawn (irrigated with recycled water) around the building tilt and twist to make up differences in levels. The subtle sculpting of the surface gives the impression of one contiguous surface around the perimeter of the building.

Throughout history, manicured landscapes, have been built to symbolise order. These lawns symbolise the order of central governance.
“Beauty should be appreciated from a distance and up close”  Closer in, detailing in stone and the play of light and shade reveal increasing richness in fine geometric pattern. The stone facades, detailed by architects from the Royal Court, are a rare and exceptional example of traditional stone craftsmanship set in a contemporary context. The same approach is applied to landscape elements such as paving, walls and steps.
While the defining element of this landscape is monumental scale, the campus also includes intimate spaces at a human scale. These spaces are important, they provide places people use. This creates a sense of the place having life.

The Clocktower Courtyard is an important outdoor space. It is the main point of arrival for VIPs entering the main assembly hall. The courtyard spills out from the library and connects the parliament halls and prayer hall housed separately.

Vehicle access is provided with careful thought and detailing to keep a distinctly pedestrian character for this space. A uniform stone paving treatment continues seamlessly between vehicular and pedestrian surfaces. Carved stone bollards define the extent of vehicle access and route for vehicles to and from the passenger set down area.
The space is shaded and visually softened by the canopies of Cassia renigera. These trees, planted in a grid arrangement, were selected for their light and feathery foliage, to counter the massive and solidity of surrounding stone facades.
Tree and palms planted in pavement needed special attention to detailing. A special soil and aggregate mix was formulated specifically for this project. It was the first time "structural soil" technology was used in this country.  This method increased the volume of root growing zones under pavements. This improves the health and increases mature heights of trees and palms, and also protects the pavement from lifting due to root growth.
Location
Muscat, Oman
23.5681371, 58.6061275
Plot Size
20 ha (50 acre)
Lead Consultant
Architectural Dept.
Royal Estates
Studio Team
 Tarek Al Sheeti , Reynaldo Casin, Rodel Demafelis, Thomas Hewitt, Santhosh John, Jeffrey Allen Kurtz , Gerraween Ann Paz , Miguelito Pegi, Andre Paul Saladaga, Ian Sandigan, Pierre Smit,  Laith Wark
Project Owner
Government of the
Sultanate of Oman
Role
Preliminary Design
Schematic Design
Detailed Design
Tender Services
Construction Supervision