• Client:
  • Undisclosed
  • Location:
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Status:
  • Study, 2009


The oasis is a place of vitality, shelter, gathering and natural beauty and is the inspiring theme for the concept design of the court of a presidential palace. The Liwa oasis is the place of birth of the ruling families of Abu Dhabi and Dubai and is referenced in this court design.

The proposal integrated the requirements of the client while offering a highly qualitative and atmospheric space. It guaranteed the unimpeded passage of the presidential motorcade and provided a pattern for stationing guards to conduct the guard of honour. It shaded the area and generated a comfortable environment.

The integration of membranes with lightweight structures is the key architectural component of the proposal.

An architectural forest is integrated into the environment. Attached to the tree structure is a lightweight membrane, with the tree leaves shadowing and filtering the Arabic sun. The tree structure consists of four identical types of trees growing into a second type that forms the dome that spans the centre of the court.

Using daylight as a designing element, the pattern on top of the membrane is related to the one represented in the design of the court. The interplay of ground floor pattern and shadow pattern results in harmony with the “symmetrical” design approach of the entire complex. The geometry of a single tree and the whole composition references the mathematical rules in Arabic ornamental patterns and the growth of computed fractal trees.

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Design: Toko / Development: Damien Aistrope