Location: Damascus, Syria
Date: 2012
Client: Majid Al Futtaim Group
Status: Concept Design
Size: 200,000 m2
Credits: ACME (Nick Channon, Stefano Dal Piva, Marc Dufour-Feronce, Ana Galbin, Friedrich Ludewig, Walee Phiriyaphongsak, Anna Psenicka, Keigo Yoshida)
Sabboura is on the outskirts of Damascus, and the Oasis forms the second phase of an urban masterplan for a new city quarter. Despite its location in the inhospitable Syrian desert, Damascus has been continuously inhabited for the past 6000 years, making the most of the water of the Barada river, channelling it into complex irrigation and distribution systems to feed public wells, bathhouses and residences.
Traditional houses in Damascus appear somewhat impenetrable from the outside, but open to central courtyards, with lush vegetation surrounding a central water feature. Our scheme for Sabboura Oasis develops this traditional Damascene typology by creating a new city precinct centred on an urban water feature, surrounded by habitable, urban tree structures. The man-made green tree structures form an inhabitable vertical garden and incorporate waterfalls, slides and event spaces hidden in the green jungle.
Living with water is interpreted across five scales – from a contemplative lake to adventure water, hedonistic pools and fountains inviting play and the largest new bathhouse and hamam built in Syria since Roman times. Residences enclose the urban oasis – a new hotel, hotel apartments, along with a new event arena, restaurants, cinemas and department stores.