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credits: DaiWebStudio

Mezyad Desert Park – Principal Design Consultant

Heritage management

Area: Mediterranean and Middle East
Country: United Arab Emirates
Period: 10/2017 - 07/2020
Client: Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority
Amount: USD 1.127.300

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The Mezyad Desert Park is a component of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Ain. It contains archaeological remains that stretch from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age during which there were major changes in the people’s lives throughout the region. Hundreds of dome-shaped tombs date to the Early Bronze Age (3000 BC), and held the remains of people who camped and lived near the mountain.

The newly protected area is occupied by an informal settlement of about 50 livestock farms and related shabby constructions to host farming activities and the residence for laboures and guardians. The area includes also the historic stable of Mezyad Fort and some shabby constructions hosting kitchens and dormitories for personnel working for a catering services.

The Mezyad Desert Park development consists of two physical components: the Mezyad Desert Park area, and Mezyad Fort; the activities planned includes: clearance of the park areas and improvement of living and working standards of the Mezyad Farms stables and surrounding areas; design of visitor infrastructures to visit the site including the rehabilitation of abandoned existing building. The development will assure permanent protection, preservation and management of its cultural and natural heritage resources and will provide adequate visitors services and infrastructures to experience the park in its full cultural and natural setting.

The vision for Mezyad Desert Park is to “present to the visitor the nearby mountain desert experience, which reflects ancient and recent (Arab) Emirati Identity. The mission for the Park is to provide an educational experience through exposure to the unique landscape and archaeological elements of the Mezyad area and adjoining Jebel Hafeet mountain.

The primary objectives of the Mezyad Desert Park project are:

  1. Education about Abu Dhabi’s past;
  2. Experience an authentic landscape;
  3. Conservation and Management framework of the landscape and archaeology;
  4. Research on cultural heritage

The primary duty of the Principal Design Consultant is to provide full conservation, architectural, engineering and specialist design services, including construction supervision services, cost management and contract administration services, to support the development of the Mezyad Desert Park project. This includes the following activities:

  • Survey and assessment of site condition and illegal/informal farming and commercial activities
  • Stakeholders consultation
  • Agreement on clearance and standard improvement of the constructions
  • Concept Design
  • Schematic Design
  • Detailed Design
  • Drafting of Tender Dossier for Main Contractor
  • Consultant in record service to obtain the construction permits
  • Construction Supervision

The scope of works includes the implementation of the following Park visitor’s and management infrastructures:

  • Landscape rehabilitation, including measures of soil re-naturalization, erosion and sedimentation control measures (check dams and wadi crossings), fencing of scattered archaeological areas;
  • implementation of existing trails and tracks;
  • design of trail shelters and a viewing pavilion; three camping sites, including camp site facilities;
  • temporary visitor centre and park administration, including car park; site-wide and way finding signage;
  • setting out of some programmatic spaces scattered within the site, as stargazing areas, bird watching spots, and a “solo performance” areas.


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