The Eco-Wadi Park located at the heart of the Lusail Development plays an important role in terms of both the landscape and program of the Lusail development. The park site covers a surface area of 56 hectares, organized into five zones divided by four road infrastructures. The site connects an arid area in the East to an intertidal area to the West.
Levels are set according to existing infrastructure, specifically the roads and storm water culverts. The lower ground level is set at +1m with the connection to the marine canal set at -1.7m, and existing road heights vary between +3 and +5m.
The main functions of the wadi park and the initial brief may be summarized by the following principles:
- The creation of a rich ecological landscape determined by the diversity and extent of habitat types, a continuum of protective buffer corridors and the enhancement of native species.
- The park represents the emblem of sustainable Lusail, the creation of an ecological haven at the heart of the city.
- The sustainability of ecological landscaping how the constructed landscape is compatible with site constraints, natural features and future human use.
- The wadi park is a place of tranquility and respiration, passive recreation, interpretation and education represent the basis for activities in the park.
- The design is based on an inherent wadi landscape.
- The park integrates the management of multiple water sources, both hard engineering and the showcase and study of bio engineering.
- Water within the park is essential to the concept of the park however water shall be used economically; the wadi by nature is a dry river bed which channels a periodic hydrological event. Therefore the presence of water may be evoked more by the trace it leaves as opposed to its physical permanence.
- The key defining factor in the design of the wadi park shall be the capacity of the park to accommodate the storm water flood conveyance.
It is often the case that gardens interiorize or miniaturize the wider surrounding landscape or a particular landscape which they evoke. In the image of the English landscape gardens of the 18th century, the design for the wadi park re-assembles and stages the landscape of the desert: the graphic topography, the unexpected flora, the convergence with the sea and also the way in which man is able to cultivate desert.
This process of observation and transposition is the conceptual basis for the wider landscape approach and is fundamental to the design of the wadi park. The extreme context of the Qatari landscape engenders a wide range of specific landscape phenomenon and the staging of these natural features as an ecological and educational resource at the heart of the city is a remarkable endeavor.
The Composition of the park
The Park is organized according to both longitudinal and transversal approaches which create a rich diversity to the program of the park. Longitudinally the park moves from the easterly arid upland area through to the westerly tidal saline mangrove zone. Transversally to the north a sinuous topography shelters and creates a limit to the park, the central wadi channel divides the park and is the location of rich vegetation pockets and to the south a structured landscape creates shelter for a wide number of functions and activities.
Within a condensed surface a trail is proposed which traverses a multitude of landscapes. Both longitudinal and transversal pedestrian circulation is extremely important to the functioning of the park and the connectivity through to the surrounding districts.
The connection to the urban districts must be carefully staged to assure the quality of the ecological aspect of the park. Urban Quays, wooden boardwalk pathways and the organization of the program concentrate the pedestrian flux giving the public access to this ecological amenity while preserving the integrity of the fragile landscapes which are created.
Three Landscape Typologies
The Arid Upland
The easterly extremity of the park is created by the transposition of the landscape typologies which evokes the desert, its topography, its textures and its flora. The ground plane is rich and multifaceted and the typical depressions or ‘Rawdah’ are recreated. The staging of the beauty of this often overlooked landscape typology is a great challenge, in terms of both the techniques needed to establish this landscape and the aesthetic approach which must be mastered.
The ‘Rawdah’ Oasis and Wadi
A close look at the landscape of Qatar as seen from the air reveals the existence of multiple organic forms and contours. We have been particularly impressed by the scale, the diversity, and the richness of the forms. Known as “Rawdah”, these depressions which collect any moisture during the rare rains helping to protect the vegetation from the extreme weather conditions of the desert. In some areas agricultural exploitation is established within the “Rawdah”, the field layout of the agricultural parcels is superposed upon and adopts the natural contours of these unique landforms. The design of the central area of the wadi park takes its inspiration and reinterprets this natural phenomenon.
Two types of gardens are envisaged within these “Rawdah” inspired landforms; desert gardens and agricultural gardens. The desert gardens are planted with the native vegetation of the desert of Qatar. The agricultural gardens are densely planted, and shaded. The “Rawdah” form a network of shaded garden corridors throughout the wadi park landscape.
It is also a question of the appreciation of agricultural practices, the work of man in the desert, alongside the creation of small contemporary gardens, and more traditional parkland features such as picnic lawns. These gardens are equally places in which techniques and practices of cultivation are staged, and play an important educational role.
The Tidal Zone and Ecological Mangrove
This area is a matter of staging an extreme reality of the convergence of the desert with the sea. The topography is revealed by the horizontality of the water. Belvederes look out over a unique sight, the mangrove tidal landscape. This ecological wildlife haven is a fantastic opportunity to create an endangered ecosystem at the heart of the city. Again technical challenges must be met; however the potential gain of creating such a natural resource makes this aspect of the park perhaps the most emblematic and the most important project at Lusail.