OMRAN, the tourism development and investment company of Oman, has awarded the multi-disciplinary team led by Allies and Morrison, the consultancy contract for its Al Irfan Urban Development project, which will create a new downtown area for the Muscat capital district.
The new mixed-use project will be located on a site extending to over 7.4 million sq m, with strategic links to the nearby Muscat International Airport and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, according to Omran.
The selection process was managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) in partnership with the project developer, Omran. Allies and Morrison won the contract under a competition format that involved other major players including Broadway Malyan, HOK, Nikken Sekkei and Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), Omran added.
Their concept provided a rich narrative together with a contextual, landscape-driven response to the brief which had been designed to work with the topography while enhancing the site’s unique natural setting.
Commenting on the deal, Omran CEO Wael Al Lawati said: “We wanted to ensure Al Irfan is designed in a sustainable manner while reflecting the uniqueness of Omani culture and is in line with the sultanate’s long-term developmental strategy.”
“We are delighted that the Riba competitions process enabled us to achieve such a successful result, which has led to the appointment of Allies and Morrison, a world-class firm in architecture and urban design,” he stated.
He described the project as a big step towards the future in terms of modern urban planning, not just for Muscat, but also as a model for planning modern cities across the sultanate in years to come.
Graham Morrison, partner at Allies and Morrison, said: “This is an extraordinarily interesting project for us to win. The project shares, in many ways, some of the same attributes of our other large-scale masterplans including London’s 2012 Olympic legacy plan, as it shares the same long-term ambitions for a memorable, sustainable and vibrant new community.”