The importance of the fort is accentuated by the landscape that evokes the openness of the original coastal setting. The re–emphasis of the main entrance and the marking of the historic approach establishes the fort as the heart of the new Cultural Quarter. The entrance into the Fort is integrated into the experience of walking the site and understanding the place.
The intent of the proposed landscape intervention is to conserve and protect the Fort’s historic spaces, reinstating the context in order to enrich the visitor experience.
The Courtyard design approach is a multi-layered interpretation of the heritage and culture and provides a contemporary access that is inclusive for all users. A historical approach of the subtle layering of platforms enables visitors to understand the existing levels and a lower ‘historic’ sand level, to express the layers of time.
The new design interventions allow reversibility, with distinction between contemporary and existing elements.
The openness and green character of the space creates a peaceful setting for an outdoor experience in a desert garden space. The space is flexible and is designed for use for small intimate events and performances.
Hidden spaces within the Inner Fort and Outer wall have been designed as a delightful garden, suitable for an informal impromptu event or ‘special’ performance for poetry, music or stories.
The existing Palms are to be conserved as a memory of the Emirati approach of ‘Greening the Desert’. The existing Date Palms retained are of cultural interest and are important to provide shade and a quality of maturity.
Planting under the retained trees evokes a sense of a garden with plants and grasses, evocative for a sensory experience - leaves rustling in the wind, scents, textured leaves and planting with important cultural references to Emirati life. New Palms will be planted to the historical alignment of the original palm tree planting that lined the colonnades.
The materiality for the courtyard is proposed to be made with high quality and locally sourced stone paving. Porous materials and local gravels are proposed adjacent to the historic stone towers and walls in accordance with conservation best practice. Materials under the palm trees will be porous for the health and well being of the trees.