The Team, in joint venture with Omrania & Associates, have won a major commission to design a series of extensions to Salam Park – the only urban park within the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Originally designed by Managing Director, Nick Sweet whilst at Aukett, Salam Park, which opened 15 years ago, is situated in the heart of the city. It is considered to be Riyadh's equivalent of Hyde Park in London or Central Park in New York, and as a result is heavily used by the city population with up to 1.5 million visitors a year – particularly large family groups who socialise and picnic there. This has taken it’s toll on the quality of the landscape of the park. The team has been appointed by the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), which has acquired five land parcels surrounding the park. This will allow the expansion of the park by 4.5 hectares representing a 20% increase in area. The extensions will also enable the regeneration of much of the park as a whole, and the creation of a series of new destination gardens as key attraction points, including a 'Water and Adventure Play Garden' a 'Garden of Giants' and a 'Science Garden'. The area surrounding the park is also receiving significant funding for development and regeneration. A new criminal court by Albert Speer, a falcons market and the new City Hall by Foster and Partners are all planned in the vicinity of the park, and some of these buildings are already under construction. The plans, alongside the redevelopment of the old Al Doho Quarter, call for stronger pedestrian links to be provided to the north of the Park, and the designs being proposed by The Team incorporate an urban space to draw people to the new main entrance building.
Nick Sweet, Managing Director, comments: “This is a really interesting project that will transform the only major green space in the city of Riyadh. Besides the new links and spaces, we aim to produce a series of different garden ‘experiences’, which will encourage human interaction with the environment and promote a better understanding of ecology.”