SLA, a nature-based design studio operating in the fields of urban space, city planning and landscape architecture, early this year marked the completion of one of its key projects in the Gulf region – the Al Fay Park in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Inaugurated in January this year, Al Fay Park is a game-changer and a paradigm shift in how to design and implement city nature in the dense megacities of the Middle East, says the Danish company.
“The 27,500-sq-m park is the first urban park in the UAE focusing on biodiversity, social activities and microclimate optimisation,” says a spokesman for the firm. “Designed aesthetically and climatically to be the ‘coolest place in town’, Al Fay Park features more than 2,000 local flora, including the national Ghaf tree, selected to sustain a natural and forest-like ecosystem.”
The resulting microclimate reduces traffic noise and temperature and creates a distinct environment. The purpose-designed sloping entrances funnel the cooler southern breeze down into the park while local grasses and bushes reduce sand infiltration.
The park features world-class facilities for multiple sports and activities, children’s playgrounds as well as a unique ‘forest track’ as a main nature attraction. All activities are made of natural elements, providing a sustainable and natural space for all to use, it says.
Designed utilising the latest knowledge and research in microclimate optimisation and urban sustainability, Al Fay Park’s high density of trees and modern irrigation systems ensure it uses 40 per cent less water than traditional parks while providing a cool, comfortable and unique round-the-clock place for all residents and visitors in Abu Dhabi to meet, play and live, says SLA.
The park design was devised after a year-long research on the region’s unique nature and wildlife by SLA’s in-house biologists and planting experts.
The park project was implemented jointly by the US infrastructure engineering firm Parsons and with the client Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport.
SLA creates modern, adaptable cities that inspire community and diversity through the innovative use of nature, design, sustainability and technology. Based in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Oslo, the multidisciplinary architectural practice strives to challenge and expand the boundaries of urban space, city planning and landscape architecture.