Mleiha Archaeological Park

PROJECT TYPE

Heritage / Public Open Space

SCOPE

Full landscape services through to built works completion

LOCATION

Sharjah, UAE

Mleiha Archaeological Park, Sharjah, UAE

This award-winning project comprises the development of a visitor centre for the historically significant Mleiha Tomb, and an open park that respects the desert context of the site.

In celebration of local heritage the tomb, which dates back to the Copper Age, is not only considered to be the most impressive amongst the many funeral sites in Mleiha but offers a wealth of information about the connection between Mesopotania and the rest of the Gulf. The park is shortlisted as a UNESCO heritage site.

The considered landscape design includes sculpted sand dunes reflecting the patterns created by wind in the surrounding desertscape. Palms and Ghaf trees are scattered around the building and tomb in an effort to bring back the desert to the site and recreate the local environmental conditions and setting that existed at the time of the tomb. The arena together with the sandstone walls, create a theatrical backdrop to the Umm an-Nar Tomb. Once inside the visitor is welcomed by a lobby with a small courtyard around an indigenous Ghaf tree, providing a soft filtered light in contrast to the bright desert sunlight. The Ghaf tree sits in its original location, and the team took great care to ensure its protection throughout the construction stage.