ACME completes Oman’s largest new urban square Marsa Plaza.
Situated in the center of Al Mouj Quarter, on the western edge of Muscat, Marsa Plaza creates a new urban space at the edge of the Marina.
Opening out into the water and defined by steps and shading canopies, the square creates a number of informal spaces for water features and people-watching, seating terraces, and an amphitheater for performances.
The ground plane of the square, the walls of the buildings, and the shading canopies have all been designed as one to create a unified visual-spatial identity and to blur the boundaries between the separate elements.
The materiality and patterns have been developed from the local context, using local Omani stone and patterns developed from traditional geometries and vernacular types.
Protected from the intense sunlight by trees and overlapping canopies, the plaza invites people of all ages and creates a shaded environment for use during the heat of the day and in the evening.
The screen patterns have been designed to maximize shading depending on-screen angle and exposure, with variations in the grid to balance light and shade for each position.
The geometry of the paving, canopies, and mashrabiya wall plays with the tectonics and graphics of traditional Omani architecture.
The project is constructed from solid local stone- Desert Rose marble quarried in Oman. Steps in the square and joints are outlined in black granite to create the floor pattern, and locally-produced lightweight aluminum canopies and screens cover the outside seating areas.
The shifting masses break up the scale of the buildings and create a variety of outdoor seating areas as well as allowing the cool sea breeze to flow into the square.
The glazed facades are protected from the sun by screens and canopy overhangs that allow for a pleasant micro-climate inside and reduce the need for climate control.
Roof canopies provide shading on all sides of the plaza. The canopies are lowest away from the sea, rising up towards the south-most corner where the largest one covers a performance area and frames views towards the water.
Location: Muscat, Sultanate of Oman
Landscape and Utilities: Parsons
Contractor: Dubai Metal
Client: Al Mouj, Sultanate of Oman
Photographer: Francisco Nogueira
About the Architect: ACME
based in London, Berlin, and Dublin. Projects extend across scales and disciplines, from contemporary architecture and urban planning to interior design and product design for private, corporate, and public clients. Since its founding in 2007, ACME has worked on over 220 projects in 25 countries, across a wide range of functions – from palaces to parks, offices to museums, bridges to shopping centers, housing to sports facilities, car parks to power stations.