Al Fay Park

The coolest place in town! With Al Fay Park, SLA creates Abu Dhabi’s first biodiversity park

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Rasmus Astrup

Design Director, Partner, Landscape Architect

Location

Abu Dhabi

Size

27,500 m2

Year

2019 — 2021

Client

The Department of Municipalities and Transport, Abu Dhabi

Role

Design lead and responsible for planting strategy

Partners & Collaborators

Parsons (architect of record), iGuzzini (lighting), Barari (contractor)

Al Fay Park in Abu Dhabi represents a paradigm shift in how to design and implement city nature in the dense megacities of the Middle East.

The 27,500 m2 park is the first urban park in UAE focusing on biodiversity, social activities and microclimate optimization. Designed aesthetically and climatically to be “the coolest place in town”.

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fig. 1 'The forest track'

Besides world-class facilities for multiple sports and activities and children’s playgrounds, the winding forest track is one of Al Fay’s main attractions. Al Fay Park is designed utilizing the latest knowledge and research in microclimate optimization and urban sustainability. Its high density of trees, plus modern irrigation systems, thus ensures that it uses 40 percent less water than traditional parks while providing a cool, comfortable, and unique round-the-clock place for all residents and visitors in Abu Dhabi to meet, play and live.

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fig. 4 Plan drawing

As the first biodiversity park in the UAE, Al Fay Park contains more than 2,000 native trees and bushes – including the national Ghaf trees that have been replanted from desert nurseries into the park – all specifically chosen to strengthen biodiversity for both plants and wildlife and to maximize natural cooling throughout the park.

The park design is devised through SLA’s inhouse biologists and planting experts’ yearlong research studies of the region’s unique nature and wildlife. A research published in SLA’s own internal plant book covering all the native plant species of the UAE, their optimal growing and living conditions, and how to integrate them into design.

fig. 6 All of the 2,000 native trees and bushes are specifically chosen to strengthen biodiversity for both plants and wildlife and to maximize natural cooling throughout the park.
fig. 5 SLA's plant specialist choosing trees at a local nursery
fig. 7 'Hands on Flora' is a complete manual of all native plant species in UAE. The handbook has been developed and produced by SLA as part of our engagement in the region.
fig. 8 Al Fay Park diagrams
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