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Allies and Morrison scoops 740ha Oman masterplan

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Allies and Morrison has won an RIBA-run invited contest to masterplan an enormous new mixed-use district in Muscat, Oman

The AJ100 practice defeated Broadway Malyan, HOK, Nikken Sekkei and SOM to win the high-profile Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (Omran)-backed job.

The 740 hectare Al-Irfan masterplan will create a new downtown district close to Muscat International Airport and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The judging panel – which included Design Council deputy chair Paul Finch, Robin Nicholson of Cullinan Studio and RIBA Vice President International Peter Oborn – praised Allies and Morrison’s ‘rich narrative’ and ‘landscape driven response to the brief’.

According to a statement, the competition judges concluded the winning design ‘had the potential to create a thoroughly modern yet authentic and characterful scheme, that would be recognisably Omani and distinct from other destinations in the wider Gulf region.’

Omran chief executive Wael Al Lawati commented: ‘Al-Irfan is the Sultanate’s largest mixed-use urban development project, and we wanted to ensure it is designed in a sustainable manner while reflecting the uniqueness of Omani culture and aligns with the Sultanate’s long-term developmental strategy.’

He continued: ‘Al-Irfan Urban Development will provide an exciting addition to Muscat¹s new lifestyle offering, complete with a new commercial centre which will be designed to best international standards in urban planning.

‘It will include residential, commercial, retail, recreation and tourist facilities and will also provide significant employment opportunities for Omanis, together with numerous down-stream business opportunities for Omani companies.’

Allies and Morrison partner Graham Morrison said: ‘This is an extraordinarily interesting project for us to win. The project shares, in many ways, some of the same attributes of our other large scale masterplans including London’s 2012 Olympic legacy plan, as it shares the same long term ambitions for a memorable, sustainable and vibrant new community.

He added: ‘It will be a privilege to be working on such a dramatic site, to be working with the Omran team and to be working in Oman.’

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