King Abdullah Botanical Gardens, Riyadh Landscape, Building, Architects, Image, Design, Project

Botanical Gardens Riyadh, KSA : KAIG Project

King Abdullah International Gardens, KAIG, Saudi Arabia design by Barton Willmore

3 Oct 2007

King Abdullah Botanical Gardens

Barton Willmore to lead project to create futuristic Botanical Gardens in the desert

Barton Willmore, a leading British design and planning practice, in a joint venture with civil engineers Buro Happold, have won the international design competition to create a 160 hectare futuristic botanical garden: the King Abdullah International Gardens (KAIG) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

King Abdullah Botanical Gardens KAIG Riyadh

The $170 million project, which draws on expertise from the Natural History Museum, and specialist sustainable development design group Emergy was commissioned by the Mayor of Riyadh and funded by contributions from business and individuals in the city.

The 160 hectare botanical garden scheme and leisure destination will be a cornerstone of the city’s growth and aim’s to provide a new visitor destination for both Saudis and international visitors.

King Abdullah International Gardens, KAIG, Saudi Arabia - design by Barton Willmore

A central component of the team’s proposal is the desire to showcase sustainable development techniques. The scheme’s power requirement will be provided primarily by solar power, supported by wind turbines and combined heat and power sources (CHP), whilst rain, which falls intermittently in the late winter months, will be harvested and collected in underground reservoirs before being cleaned, used for irrigation and then recycled.

King Abdullah International Gardens, KAIG, Saudi Arabia - design layout

The centrepiece of Barton Willmore’s proposal is a 20 acre paleobotanic building, formed as two interlocking crescents which accommodate a sequence of controlled environments. Each environment allows visitors to travel through time and recreates pre-existing ecosystems based on actual environments which have occurred on this precise piece of land through time. Each is to be presented as a complete environment, including those species from each which survive to this day and accommodating the ‘ghosts’ of species that have been lost.

King Abdullah International Gardens, KAIG design

The gardens are presented as a time-line which lead the visitor to the wadi garden, the central space enclosed by the crescent, which is to be developed as a celebration of the existing desert ecosystem, using only species that are native to the local area.

The final enclosed garden within the crescent building is the Garden of Choices, an educational space which explores and explains the choices we are still able to make and which have the potential to preserve the environment of our planet for future generations.

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Nick Sweet, project director and Partner in charge of Urban Design at Barton Willmore’s London office commented: “When we read the brief, we decided to recognise the irony of producing proposals with a strong educational message on sustainable developments in the heart of the world’s principal oil-producing nation.”

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“In this day and age, we are all, to one degree or another, fearful of the rapid changes in climate change occurring in the world and many are uncertain about how to respond. We wanted to use the scheme to tell the story of a single piece of land through time. It might be a desert now, but there was a time when rivers flowed here and forests grew.”

The KAIG team comprising of Barton Willmore, Emergy, Buro Happoldand the Natural History Museum will research, procure and build the scheme, planning scientific, water, play and display gardens in the broader scope of the site.

The project is due to be completed for the spring of 2010

Barton Willmore is one the UK’s leading, independent Planning and Design Practices, offering a unique, integrated selection of professional development services.

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We provide comprehensive planning, design and regeneration expertise from each of our regional offices that can be utilised at any point during the development process. We act for private and public sector clients across all types of development, from key national urban regeneration sites to a local village hall and our personal approach to the services we provide has consistently resulted in long standing client relationships and a high level of repeat business.

Barton Willmore is constantly seeking new ways to deliver innovative, people centric solutions throughout all our projects, which meet an agenda of sustainability, integration and quality. Delivery is achieved through integrated thinking. We seek to break down skill barriers between our planners, master planners, urban designers, architects, landscape designers and project managers to provide comprehensive and deliverable solutions as well as offering an unparalleled breadth and depth of expertise to guide you throughout the development process.

Riyadh Botanical Gardens Saudi Arabia – images / information from Barton Willmore 031007

King Abdullah Botanical Gardens architect : Barton Willmore

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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Website: Visit Saudi Arabia