Al Sarooj Development is a touristic commercial project situated in a coastal area of Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman. With a total surface area of 34,307 square meters, the program consists of a boutique hotel and a commercial development.
Located on a 5,400-square-meter parcel, the hotel fronts the northern coastal edge of the site, overlooking the sea and accommodating 100 rooms. The rest of the site, a parcel of approximately 230 meters in depth and 28,907 square meters in surface area, houses the commercial development as dictated by the brief.
The proposed scheme was primarily driven by the desire to emphasize a society’s increasing dependence on the automobile. In a part of the world where the urban experience is more vehicular than pedestrian, we consciously chose to articulate the project around the automobile. This was achieved by creating an oval arena where the displacement of the vehicle seems, as does that of a carousel car, somewhat infinite. The various programmatic functions were then grafted onto the periphery of this ring, and within the central nucleus.
This highly introverted situation localized around the experience of the vehicle was then contextualized using a second reference plan placed at its roof level. This landscaped surface allows users to reconnect with the sea view due to its elevated reference level.
The vehicular arena, the built masses, as well as the suspended garden are articulated as a single coherent composition, in contrast to a typical scheme in which the parking could have been a separate element and the garden a mere graft onto the project.
The seafront hotel therefore shares two reference levels: the upper plateau on which a vehicular ramp extends along the length of the suspended garden to reach the hotel drop-off, as well as another circuit used for services and functioning at another level.