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Qasr Al Hosn Cultural Park

The historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort is Abu Dhabi’s oldest and most important cultural building. It is a landmark rising from the sand as a magnificent sculpture, literally constituting the birthplace of Abu Dhabi.


The transformation of the site consists of a cultural park surrounding the fort and The Cultural Foundation. Here, the coastal desert landscape is reintroduced and divided diagonally into two contrasting landscapes. On the one hand, a soft, open and sensuous desert landscape around the fort - thus reinstating the building as a free-standing landmark on the sand. On the other, a paved and programmed area with intensified local planting around the Cultural Foundation, combining the desert landscape with the modern city grid structure.


The landscape design connects the two types of landscapes through a diverse and social public urban space that is characterized by formations of cracks and irregular geometric shapes - inspired by the distinctive mud crack patterns of the coastal desert landscape and salt flats surrounding Abu Dhabi. These shapes communicate a strong and scalable narrative rooted in the original landscape and the history of the site.

Photos: CEBRA


Service: Landscape design and plant strategy
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Type: Invited assignment
ClientAbu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT)
Design period: 2017
Realization: 2018 -2019
Area: 140,000 m2
Partners: CEBRA (Design Lead), GHD, Prodenkmal, Kossmanndejong

“Through our design approach and the collaboration with CEBRA, the purpose of Qasr Al Hosn Cultural Park has been to embrace the beauty of Abu Dhabi’s nature, culture and history - by creating a welcoming, social and sensuous public space in the heart of the city”

- Rasmus Astrup, Partner in SLA