Friday, September 05, 2008

Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens likely to have water as its lifeblood

The Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens, expected to be one of the most ambitious urban projects in the world, is likely to accommodate more than a quarter of a million people with a system known for its parks, waterways and gardens, which represent the largest formal urban masterplan in the Southern Gulf. This fact has been revealed by CivicArts, the architectural firm for Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens.
Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens
With a construction cost worth more than $60bn, the logistics of manually building such an immense development such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens are matched by the monumental scale of water management required to transform the desert into lush oasis.
The masterplan weaves water into the social fabric of 21st century city, where the interests of recreation, transportation and environment will all go hand in hand.

Designed by Eric Kuhne, the masterplan of the new city was unveiled by H.H.Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which includes provision for education, homes, commercial and financial facilities, apart from tourist landscapes, civic buildings and more.

"Water will be the lifeblood of the new city, pumped through a network of pools, canals and waterways, creating a waterfront which will be unrivalled in the Middle East," said Kuhne.
The canal system will be navigable and will support life on many levels, offering wildlife habitats numerous opportunities for recreation and leisure. With about 150km of waterfront and wetlands, the Central Union Canal will give the ecosystem of the city, the capacity to support a range of living creatures on scale unprecedented in the Middle East.

The lakes, waterways, canals, retention and detention ponds will all together form a perfect habitat for procreation and protection of aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.

The masterplan also permits a variety of waterway edges, including keystone walls with integrated plants, stepped terraces that offer upper-level dining, apart from the mid-level cycle paths, lower-level walkways and gabion walls all planted with aquatic plants set with boulders to create natural informal character. The beach and detention ponds allow easy access to canal, which will facilitate the provision of public beaches and informal lawn areas.

The water channels, pools and fountains are the organizing elements of the wide gardens, with unique Arabian pattern of parkways and canals which has drawn inspiration from astrolabes, which when once charted the heavens will now become symbols of geometry for this new city.
The main aspect of the design is the Grand Canal, which will find its way through the Dubai Creek and Business Bay through the astrolabe pattern to the heart of Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens, before returning to the Gulf. The design implies that residents, workers and visitors to the new city will never be far from gardens or water, and the circling canals, culminating in dramatic, Grand Central Fountain will be a unifying aspect.

The water and power strategies will be supported by low water usage and energy-efficient buildings. The building control systems, together with water and energy-efficient fittings will minimize demand. Well-designed facades will maximize the use of natural light and buildings, and integrate solar technologies to supply hot water and local cooling for residences that are not connected to the city-wide district cooling networks.

The design of the city will include and unprecedented level of water recycling. Sophisticated water treatment will bring in non-potable water supply which will reduce potable water demand and effluent stream will meet irrigation needs. The greening of the city with canals, parks and ponds will draw attention of migratory birds, enhancing local and global biodiversity. Planting will create cool corridors for walking and riding.

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