Thoughts from Oman - Urban and natural landscapes

Muscat is a fascinating city. As my airplane prepares for landing in the dark evening, the lit Muscat gradually comes to sight. How can the city tease me like that? Areas alternate between sparkling and complete darkness when mountains slide back and forth in the perspective.

Muscat lives with its landscapes; proud and humbled by its bold mountains and soft and tender by the sea. The urban fabric is determined by the valleys, and the neighbourhoods conglomerate between mountain peaks.

The solid mountains are seemingly eternal witnesses of the social and commercial flows, of people and products moving into and from Oman, and around and across Oman.

Integration in landscape

Urbanities and landscapes share a mutual agreement of beautiful coexistence. The white orthogonal buildings sparkle in their landscapes; on the bare mountain side, in the green palm tree forest, and on the coastal edge. The urban form is contrasted by the mountains’ sharp zigzag skyline.

Yet despite the differences, the building shades of white and blue created in the changing light of the day continue into the mountain shades of brown and blue created by perspective depth.

Building forms do not follow the shapes of Oman mountains individually, yet the uniform building heights and building mass negotiate a good flow and synergy between the neighbourhoods and the landscapes.

The houses are delicate and carefully decorated with intricate details appearing like precious jewels against the rough mountains. Internally, the houses create their own sanctuary landscapes with layered courtyards and colourful plants.

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