Flying high in Abu Dhabi

Sian
Tuesday 20 Apr 2010

Sparch present luxury new development as first phase of Arzanah masterplan

Rihan Heights aims to establish an exciting contrast between dry desert, succulent planting and lush, vegetated components. The underlying motivation for this differentiation is to relate the landscape design to be recognisable to the natural environment of Abu Dhabi as well as to reduce areas with high irrigation needs. The master plan identifies all landscapes, wrapping the edges of the individual development parcels as dry ‘desert’ zones. In addition to the immediate pedestrian exposure to the landscape, its perception from a bird’s eye perspective will play a key role in the experience of the landscaped development. Vertical sky-garden slots are an integral part of each residential tower, wherein it creates strong graphic patterns which are interesting to look at from above.

Sensitive and conservative use of the precious resource of water is a driving principle in the design. The provision and use of natural shade providing canopy trees and other vegetation is desirable to improve the micro climate in distinct areas of the parcel, and turn it into a livable and walkable environment. Since the local landscape does not provide large canopy trees, suggested vegetation will derive from subtropical and Mediterranean plant palettes, which are climatically closest to the area and thus have low irrigation demands.

Because of timesaving considerations dealing with the high groundwater table, parking levels are built as an on-ground podium structure. The three-storey podium is wrapped with a unique landscape, and a combination of tilted plains of varying texture which enfolds the podium horizontally. The slope-scape fulfills a series of tasks, wherein it provides visually and micro-climatically pleasant and inviting setting for the pedestrian and vehicular approach to the development parcel. The design faces challenges with a horizontally folded landscape. With each fold varying on its way around the parcel in width, height and inclination, the slope-scape represents an architectural interpretation of the local desert morphology and geology.

The residential towers are rooted to the landscape podium adjacent to the clubhouse and other communal facilities. These embrace the podium landscape, creating a private urban garden for the residents, combined with the Villas to provide a variety of apartment types from single bedroom apartments to 3-bedroom units, all of which have either garden views, a view to the seafront or the city. SPARCH is the masterplanner of the Arzanah project and architect of Rihan Heights.

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