Jebel Hafeet is the only mountain of the United Arab Emirates, important culturally, ecologically and economically for thousands of years. At its foot lies the oasis of Al Ain, the historic city of date groves. A developer owns 1.100 Ha which comprise the NW side of the mountain, and parts of the plains below. The developer approached Woods Bagot Dubai for a conceptual design for the area. In turn doxiadis+ developed the landscape master plan.
Weathered rock over endless desert, Jebel Hafeet has incredible presence. The collision of tectonic plates makes of the mountain a single ridge in a NW-SE direction. The rock is eroded by wind and rain, forming a series of rhythmic ravines all along the sides, leading from the ridge to the plains below. In our design for Jebel Hafeet, the mountain itself is the determinant.
The proposal calls for the stream ravines to be the structural, ecological and programmatic backbone of the development.The mountaintop ridge remains untouched, withisolated, perched “falcon villas” at the top of the ravines. A main ravine, whose base already holds similar program, is developed into a mountain theme park. All other ravines alternate between pristine, with a minimum amount of intervention, and adventure, with limited intervention, so that the mountain retains its ecological and landscape character. As the ravine streams reach the plains, they form the backbone of development: denser subdivisions based on the historic palm groves on the north, and Arabian ranches on the south.