Al Ain Oasis Cultural Quarter


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The Al Ain Oasis is the largest of several oases within the limits of Al Ain, on Abu Dhabi Emirate's eastern border with Oman. The city's name, translated from Arabic, means "The Eye" or, "The Source", deriving from freshwater springs in the rocky hills occurring in the otherwise extremely arid landscape of this region. Archaeological evidence gathered from stone tumuli and other artifacts in and around Al Ain, suggests that these springs have been channeled by humans, through a system of falaj, or underground courses, for over three thousand years. It was a result of recent infringements on the historic Oasis that the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage simultaneously commission MSA to create a cultural master plan for the Oasis, and began the application process for UNESCO World Heritage listing for the Cultural Sites of Al Ain. The Master Plan was completed in 2010 and UNESCO inscription was achieved in 2011.

The Al Ain Master Plan was conceieved in 2008 with the goal of preserving the Al Ain Oasis and its edges, to create and expand cultural and public amenities around and within the Oasis, and to provided improved public access to the Oasis itself. The Master Plan seeks to re-establish a primary visual and physical relationship bewteen the Oasis and the surrounding city, while at the same time acknowledging, channeling, and enhancing other current planning initiatives within the adjacent Al Ain Central District.

The Master Plan achieves these goals by creating an interconnected network of cultural venues and public spaces within the Oasis and at its periphery, and by enhancing and expanding the existing Al Ain National Museum, constructed by Sheikh Zayed at the Oasis's eastern edge in 1968, adjacent to the Sultan Fort. This eastern edge is to become the Cultural Quarter, anchored by the expanded Al Ain National Museum.

Year: 2011
Client: Abu Dhabi Authority of Culture and Heritage
Location:
Abu Dhabi, UAE

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