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FIRST LOOK

Flagship HQ for National Bank of Oman in Muscat completed by LOM

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The 50,000m² building is laid out over nine floors including two basements, and stands on a prominent site near the Grand Mosque and the city centre

The atrium’s form is inspired by Oman’s wadi gorges, with a series of dramatic internal spaces. These balance public access with security requirements to create a multi-functional facility that serves as both a staff resource and semi-public and event space.

Externally, the building envelope changes at each floor level to create a natural, stepped profile, and rises from a rough-hewn base to a clean, distinctive parapet line.

The building incorporates a boardroom suite, archiving facility, main vault, roof terrace, underground staff car parking, cafeteria and data centre together with workspace for up to 800 people. It also includes a bank branch at ground floor level for customers. 

10 nbo hq view across public entrance plaza towards main entrance and canopy structure

10 nbo hq view across public entrance plaza towards main entrance and canopy structure

Source: Edmund Sumner

Architect’s view

In designing this building the client and local authorities in Muscat challenged us to create a new style of architecture, which would reflect Oman’s heritage and character, without resorting to pastiche or imitation. A key starting point was to use Omani limestone sourced from the local area as a primary material both internally and externally, creating an immediate link with the mountain landscape which is visible from the building.

The base is formed of terraces of loadbearing natural stone blocks, creating the qualities of a natural landform. The façade of the upper floors uses vertical precast panels, creating slot windows inspired by the architecture of traditional Omani forts such as Nizwa, Nakhal and Bahla. The upper terraces have generous planting including palm trees, which will overhang the external terraces, creating a visible connection with the landscape.

05 nbo hq omani stone and ribbon glazed facade detail

05 nbo hq omani stone and ribbon glazed facade detail

Source: Edmund Sumner

We collaborated with Buro Happold to deliver a façade system using traditional masonry techniques combined with a contemporary engineering approach, which creates openings for deep ribbon windows and allows solar shading. This system – used for the first time on a building in Oman – employs a series of precast lintels suspended from the frame of the building to support massive hand-set stone courses. In this way the stone becomes both a load-bearing and a floating element, and the deep incised openings reflect the eroded and stratified topography which is characteristic of Oman’s cliffs and wadis.

Horizontal precast louvres are supported from the glazing mullions with concealed brackets allowing them to float in front of the ribbon glazing, and the façade also incorporates a seismic joint at each floor level, allowing floors to move independently in the event of a tremor. The ground floor is established at 1.5 metres above grade as a precaution against flooding with the basement vault formed as a secure, self-contained structure with additional seismic protection.

John Avery, director, LOM architecture and design

Lom architecture and design nbo key drawings rev 26.02.18 3 copy

Lom architecture and design nbo key drawings rev 26.02.18 3 copy

Source: LOM

Atrium level plan

Project data

Start on site 2015
Completion 2017
Gross internal floor area 49,800m²
Construction cost Undisclosed
Form of contract or procurement route Traditional contract tendered as enabling, main works and interior fit-out packages
Architect
LOM architecture and design
Executive architect Ibrahim Jaidah Architects & Engineers
Client National Bank of Oman
M&E consultant Buro Happold
Structural engineer Buro Happold
QS Daan Shaaban Office
Landscape consultant Murray Associates
Main contractor Al Turki Enterprises
Lighting designer Lightivity
Fire engineer Tenable
Highways consultant Parsons
Acoustic consultant Buro Happold
Project manager LOM / IJAE joint venture
CAD software used AutoCad

17 nbo hq view from atrium across bridges and towards grand mosque

17 nbo hq view from atrium across bridges and towards grand mosque

Source: Edmund Sumner

 

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