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middle east


December 2016




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Editor’s Note To mark World Soil Day on December 5, we delve into the humble world of soil and showcase its evolution and importance with a piece written by Dr Shabbir A Shahid from the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture in Dubai. On page 28, AP (Thailand) Public Company Limited, the leading developer of residential properties for urban residents and innovator of design for unlimited functional space, recently handed over AP Unusual Football Field, a new concept football pitch to young people in Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum community. We see how these unusual shaped football pitches are making a difference in youngsters lives in Thailand through their innovative landscape design. Another project making differences in people’s lives is The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. It is one of America’s greatest centres for the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. See page 44 for more. On page 24, we profile Hortus Landscape, a company who are the leading source of information on landscape and garden plants in the Middle East. We discover how the firm was established and learn about current trends in planting design. We also speak to landscape design company, Vero Studio about their upcoming projects and history of the company.

Enjoy the issue!

John Hampton

Managing Partner: Ziad Maarouf Amine Copy Editor: John Hampton Sales Manager: Boushra Dinnawi Administrative Assistance: Sarry Gan Art Director: Ramon Andaya Contributors: Dr Shabbir Shahid, Richard Irving Corlett, Dina Kelly, Kanthicha Bunphokaew, Lena Kellermann, Henry Duck, Stefano Corbo, Kelsey Wilcox Printed by: Al Nisr Publishing LLC Webmaster:

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36 44

contents December 2016 - Issue 114

18 20

Prescription for successful plant establishment in the desert


Interview with Richard Corlett, Landscape Architect of Hortus

28 32 36 40 44


Evolution of World Soil Day

Shaping concepts Urban renewal In Conversation with Mr. Henry Duck, Associate of the Vero Studio An urban archipelago Making a difference





I news and events



I news and events

SUBSURFACE DRIP IRRIGATION Tips on how to install the world’s most water-efficient irrigation method

Subsurface drip irrigation continues to become an increasingly popular method of irrigating just about any landscape, from large expanses of turf to street medians to narrow planting beds. Why are more contractors and property owners using subsurface drip? Like standard drip irrigation, subsurface drip uses less water, promotes healthy plant growth, is unaffected by wind and offers more uniform watering. However, because subsurface drip irrigation takes place below ground level, it also eliminates wasteful and sometimes damaging overspray and is virtually unaffected by evaporation. All in all, subsurface drip can be up to 90 percent more efficient than overhead irrigation and use 70 percent less water. And, because watering takes place underground, people and pets can continue to use the landscape as it’s being watered, allowing for more activity in places like parks or sports fields. In warm, dry areas like Southern California in the United States, the cost of water continues to rise, with the area’s Metropolitan Water District importing more than 1.5 billions of gallons of water each day. Mike Garcia, owner of Enviroscapes in Manhattan Beach, California, says that higher water costs have caused many of his customers to consider subsurface drip irrigation for the first time. “Nowadays, people only seem to spend money when they know they will receive a return on their investment,” Garcia explains. “The benefits of subsurface drip make it an easy sell in that respect. It may require an investment up front, but it will bring in positive returns for many years.” Getting to the “root of the problem” One hurdle that Garcia initially encountered when selling subsurface drip irrigation is the issue of root intrusion. In the past, some contractors installed fertigation units with subsurface drip systems and pumped herbicide through it to keep roots from infiltrating the drip tubing. However, more consumers are now aware of the potential harm that synthetic herbicides can cause, making that method far less acceptable. Garcia found a solution to the root intrusion problem with Rain Bird’s XFS Subsurface Dripline featuring unique Copper Shield™ Technology. Winner of an Irrigation Association Best New Product Award in 2010, XFS Subsurface Dripline uses copper, a natural metal, to successfully inhibit root intrusion rather than chemicals. “XFS Subsurface Dripline has made it far easier to sell subsurface drip to my customers,” Garcia says. “Even after explaining the benefits of this type of drip irrigation and Rain Bird’s special technology, people will sometimes say, ‘Copper, really?’ I tell them to consider what type of pipe supplies water to your home—it’s usually copper, right? That puts it into perspective for them.” Subsurface tips Obviously, subsurface drip irrigation has many benefits. Combine those benefits with recent technological improvements, and it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular. However, it does require contractors to take special


care during installation as well as regular maintenance. Garcia offered some tips from his own years of experience. “Because dripline is basically plastic with tiny pinholes throughout, there’s air inside of it,” Garcia says, “When water pushes into the system and encounters air, you need an air release valve to let that air out. Otherwise, the air will slow down the water from reaching the far end of the system, and the far end of the system will receive less water than the front of the system.” Similarly, it’s important to install a pressure regulating device on a subsurface drip system, or there could be consequences. Under high pressure, insert fittings are more likely to pop off. A pressure regulator can prevent that from happening and reduce the need for future maintenance. Every subsurface drip system also needs a flush, or clean-out, valve. Any debris in the system will collect at the end of the line. By installing a flush valve, contractors can open up the valve to flush that debris away, keeping it from building up and damaging the system. Read the instructions Perhaps it goes without saying that it’s absolutely imperative for contractors to read the manufacturer’s instructions thoroughly before installing a subsurface drip system. “Every product is different,” Garcia says. “I’ve seen contractors neglect to install very important system components because they tried to save time by not reading the manual. Instead, they wasted time and ended up losing customers when the system malfunctioned.” Rain Bird offers up the following tips for success in its “XF Series Dripline: Design, Installation and Maintenance Guide” (available for download at Keep all driplines, headers (manifolds), and mainline piping free of dirt during installation because any contamination in these lines could plug the dripline emitters. Check headers (manifolds) and dripline laterals for leaks before covering with soil. Check pressure at the site and be sure to operate below the maximum rated pressure of 60 PSI (4.14 bar). Check and record pressure at the supply header and flush header. Any changes in pressure can be used in future troubleshooting. If core aeration is expected to be done in the turf where subsurface dripline is installed, be sure the tine depth is less than the depth of the buried dripline. Depth of dripline is recommended to be 6” (15.24cm) while tine depth should not be set greater than 4” (10.2cm). When using machinery for the installation: Do not drive over the dripline; always keep a layer of soil between the dripline and machinery tires. To help keep driplines in place, drive in the same direction as the dripline, not across the lines. Avoid driving in the same places at the site or you will be creating heavily compacted areas. Be sure there is uniform soil compaction all over the site after installation. After installation, open the flush valves (one at a time) and collect some of the water to check to be sure that the installation is clean. After installation and backfill, observe the first wetting pattern. Rapid puddling could indicate a leak or might mean that the driplines are not buried at the specified depth. With proper installation and maintenance, a subsurface drip irrigation system can provide years of worry-free performance while using less water than any other irrigation method. Plus, it provides an excellent opportunity for contractors to grow their businesses by upgrading their customers to a more water-efficient irrigation method. “I tell other contractors that one of the best ways to keep afloat in this economy is to install subsurface drip irrigation,” Garcia says “Everyone is looking for ways to be more sustainable. By installing subsurface drip that uses an organic material like copper, you can help your customers create more sustainable landscapes that will give them enjoyment for years to come.”


I news and events

Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects lectures at AUS

Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects lectures at AUS Zaha Hadid/ Omniyat Fellowship Fund to inspire youth was announced American University of Sharjah (AUS) has recently held a special lecture by Patrik Schumacher, Principal, Director and Senior Designer at Zaha Hadid Architects, at the university’s Main Building. Schumacher has been leading the firm since Hadid’s passing in April 2016. The lecture also coincided with the announcement of the Zaha Hadid / Omniyat Fellowship Fund. The lecture, organized by the AUS Chapter of the American Institute of Architectural Students (AIAS), an independent and non-profit institute with chapters in many US architecture programs, aimed to highlight the accomplishments of the late Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid and to share inspiring architectural work with students and faculty members of the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at AUS. “For me Zaha Hadid totally transformed the meaning of architectural design,” said Schumacher during his presentation. “She turned design into an adventure of discovery with previously unimaginable degrees of freedom. Yet, there is nothing arbitrary within her work. It was always principled and pursued to perfection. Her legacy will live on in us as well as in so many of her inspired followers,” he added. The lecture focused on developed architectural styles that include Parametricism, which relies on evolutionary digital algorithms and structural organization that respond to environmental parameters like sun, wind, gravity, and geology. Schumacher, who joined Hadid in 1988, has been a co-author on most projects and was seminal in developing Zaha Hadid Architects into becoming a 400-strong global architecture and design brand. In 1996, he founded the Design Research Laboratory at the Architectural Association where he continues to teach. “Patrik Schumacher’s lecture encapsulated very well the significant ways in which Zaha Hadid and her firm pushed the boundaries of architectural thought,” said Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of CAAD at AUS. “As I listened, I could not but help wonder if the next Zaha Hadid— cosmopolitan, radical, a renaissance thinker—was in the audience that day. The Zaha Hadid / Ominiyat Fellowship Fund would help individuals realize such potential by giving them the opportunity to study at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. I am sure many AUS students and alumni will be vying for this opportunity and I wish them all success,” added Dr. Pallathucheril.


The CAAD Dean was commenting on the announcement after the lecture, of the Zaha Hadid / Omniyat Fellowship by Omniyat Executive Chairman and CEO, Mahdi Amjad. The initiative introduced by Omniyat, a Dubai-based property developer, is designed to encourage aspiring designers and architects from the region to further pursue their studies. The initiative is in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai’s vision to make youth development a top priority. A tribute to the late Dame Zaha Hadid’s work, life, and legacy, the Zaha Hadid / Omniyat Fellowship Fund at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) will provide financial aid to qualifying students from the UAE and the Arab World, and enrolled in the Master in Architecture program at the GSD. Amjad said, “I was fortunate enough to have worked for over ten years with my dear friend and design mentor Dame Zaha Hadid on the creation of our flagship Opus Building in the heart of Dubai. “It was a pleasure to be present for this special lecture and to meet some of the architecture students here at AUS. Its so important to inspire and nurture our future talent and it is through the Zaha Hadid/Omniyat fellowship that I hope other great creative minds can develop to design and build the next generation of inspirational buildings that provide unique experiences.”

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I news and events

UAE supports launching the World Green Economy (WGEO) The Secretary-General of the United Nation, HE Ban Ki-Moon commended the insightful vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai for supporting sustainability and global green economy and launching the World Green Economy Organisation (WGEO) with its permanent headquarters in Dubai and praised the UAE for joining WGEO as its first member. In a meeting with HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of World Green Economy Organisation (WGEO), the Secretary-General of the United Nations HE Ban Ki-Moon, was briefed on the key achievements and joint cooperation development between the United Nations and WGEO. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer has stated that WGEO which was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the 3rd World Green Economy Summit 2016 in Dubai, will support the UAE Vision 2021 to be among the best countries in the world by 2021, the UAE Green Economy Strategy that was launched by HH under the theme ‘A Green Economy for Sustainable Development’ to enhance Dubai’s position as a global capital for green economy as well as the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021 to achieve further happiness in the society.” “Joined by the UAE as its first member country, WGEO will support the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate, and increase global awareness on climate change to enhance the shift towards a green economy. WGEO will also have a leading and new role to promote the levels of green economy through dialogue, partnership and exchange of expertise among countries, public and private sectors, corporates, UN organisations, banking institutions and civil society institutions to achieve the objectives of green economy and act as a mechanism to introduce new solutions for climate change, sustainable energy and other challenges facing water and environment worldwide”, he added. “Launching WGEO at this time reflects the relentless efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals outlined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. WGEO will also play an instrumental role in mitigating climate change, as it serves as a mechanism for generating new solutions for sustainable energy, water and other environmental challenges, thereby lowering the risk of green economy investments, and supporting international cooperation in innovation, technology and finance. It will provide technical assistance to countries which can benefit from the UAE’s and the other countries green economy model, as well as cooperating with other countries whose economies require development and diverse green strategies for the future,” he explained. “The fruitful collaboration with the United Nations is one of the key steps in our pursue to strengthen our march for sustainable development and exchange of expertise and experience with other countries to achieve our aspirations for a better future as our leadership has a wise vision to foresee the future through ambitious infrastructure projects in clean energy that is important in achieving balance between development and environment to ensure the generations to come a clean, healthy and safe environment. Energy is one of the key elements for sustainable development and the base for positive environment that encourages and enhances cooperation, engagement, innovation and creativity,” he added.


HE Al Tayer has highlighted key achievements, initiatives and projects of Dubai. He added that Dubai has launched Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 to provide 7% of Dubai’s energy by 2020, 25% by 2030, and 75% by 2050. The strategy consists of many initiatives including Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park which is the largest single-site solar park in the world, with a planned capacity of 5,000 megawatts by 2030 and an expected investment of USD13 billion. The Emirate of Dubai is working on the reduction of carbon emissions in line with Dubai Carbon Abatement Strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 16% by 2021 and the implementation of the energy and water demand side management strategy to enhance Dubai’s position as the city with the lowest carbon fingerprint worldwide and to reduce demand to 30% by 2030. Furthermore, Etihad Energy Services (Etihad Esco) was established to optimise the use of energy and to develop a market for energy efficiency and to reinstate more than 30 thousand existing building in Dubai. HE also emphasised on projects for increasing efficiency and reliability in generating energy and desalinating water such as increasing productivity techniques without using additional fuel, increasing the efficiency of central cooling systems, energy conservation programmes, and water desalination using solar energy and Dubai smart initiatives including ‘Shams Dubai’ to encourage houses’ and buildings’ owners to install photovoltaic panels to generate power, and smart applications and meters initiative to facilitate the connection of service and response time, consumption saving, the Green Charger to establish the infrastructure and build 100 electric vehicle charging stations all over Dubai. “DEWA’s Sustainable Building is the first UAE building and largest government building in the world to receive a platinum rating for green buildings from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The building has a 660 KW solar power station and uses 66% less energy and 48% less water than other buildings. On the other hand, DEWA plans to build its new headquarters named Al-Sheraa (sail) which will be the tallest, largest, and smartest net Zero Energy government building in the world. The new building will have over a million square feet, over 200,000 square feet of land in the heart of the Cultural Village in Al Jadaf”, he concluded.

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I news and events


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Discovery international chooses the heart of europe project for new documentary series “impossible builds” The Heart of Europe developer releases, for the first time, information about the exclusive filming Kleindienst, the biggest European real estate company in Dubai and developer of The Heart of Europe – a cluster of six islands on The World Islands, has announced that its iconic project will feature in a new TV series documentary, ‘Impossible Builds’, by Discovery International, PBS and Blink Films. Filming has commenced with an initial focus on projects located on two out of the six unique islands – the first two Sweden Palaces to be built on Sweden Island, and the world’s first Floating Seahorse which will be primarily located on St. Petersburg Island. “We are thrilled that Discovery International has selected The Heart of Europe for its new documentary, which will showcase the most ambitious and adventurous approaches to construction and architecture. We are proud to be chosen from Dubai and the world’s many impressive projects as this confirms that we are setting new benchmarks in innovation and technology. Therefore, the series is a great platform through which we can exhibit our ability to make the impossible possible,” commented Josef


Kleindienst, the Chairman of Kleindienst. Kleindienst’s one-of-a-kind vision will be portrayed through exclusive footage and state-of-the-art graphics that bring unique engineering challenges to life, along with interviews with the visionary architects, daring engineers and brave builders behind each aspect of the Heart of Europe. Only five hand-picked projects worldwide will feature in the 5 x 60’ Impossible Builds series. From the producers of SUPERSKYSCRAPERS, the focus will be on the construction processes behind the five iconic landmarks and follow them from start to finish. The other four chosen projects to feature in the Impossible Builds series alongside The Heart of Europe include the skinniest skyscraper in the world located in New York, and the world’s first curvaceous skyscraper situated in Melbourne. Discovery International and PBS will broadcast Impossible Builds towards the end of 2017 / early 2018 to approximately two billion viewers worldwide.


I news and events

Ville de Québec, Canada

The Reception Pavilion of Québec’s National Assembly receives a Canadian Architect’s Award of Merit GLCRM & Provencher_Roy Institutional Architecture, Culture, Event + Exhibition, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design

GLCRM and Provencher_Roy Architects consortium are the proud recipients of Canadian Architect’s 2016 Award of Merit for their work on the reception pavilion of Québec’s National Assembly. The award was handed out during the magazine’s 49th Awards of Excellence gala, held in Toronto. Since its inception in 1968, the Awards of Excellence have recognized exceptional architectural projects in the design stage, as reflected by buildings that are interesting from a structural point-ofview while being responsive to social and urban context, meeting client needs with discernment and creativity, and demonstrating awareness of sustainable development imperatives. “It was a great challenge to modernize Québec’s National Assembly while preserving the heritage site. However, by building the reception pavilion underground, we created a discreet space from the exterior that respects the Parliament Building as the symbol of Québec’s identity and preserves the layout of the gardens, thus granting citizens access to a bold and impressive learning space,” explains Matthieu Geoffrion, architect and partner at Provencher_Roy. The facilities of the National Assembly were slowly becoming outdated and in need of revitalization. Following the parliamentary reform of 2009, ambitious goals had been established, notably in order to allow more sittings of parliamentary commissions and to give citizens, who were visiting in increasing numbers, greater access to the National Assembly. As well, the security systems in place were no longer adapted to the latest technologies in use and it was becoming urgent to update them to reflect global security concerns.


   The addition of a reception pavilion thus became inevitable. However, it was just as necessary to preserve the Parliament Building, a historic monument designed by Eugène-Étienne Taché, and to showcase it. Its facade depicts the history of Québec, and is one of the rare facades in the world to boast such an iconographic narrative. The solution was to create an underground reception pavilion nestled beneath the existing staircase and to link it to an entrance with an elevator, located in the inner courtyard, to allow access to the upper floors. Surrounding the entrance, support spaces have been set up. In their entirety, the new structures account for an expansion of 5,100 m2, while completely preserving the heritage context and the interpretation of the Parliament Building.   Organization of the Reception Pavilion The entrance to the reception pavilion draws the public to the facade. This becomes the starting point of a long ramp that organizes the project’s spaces, with a wood wall that picks up the narrative inscribed on the Parliament Building through images reflecting the milestones of the history—modern, this time—of Québec. Distributed along this ramp are spaces dedicated to security, reception, services and teaching, as well as commission rooms. These spaces are anchored around an agora, a central place that symbolizes the democratic tradition of the National Assembly. Dominated by a giant oculus through which visitors can view the National Assembly’s central tower, the agora—whose volumes are inspired by the Pnyx of Ancient Greece—fosters intersubjective dialogue that emphasizes democracy as an experience. It also evokes the manner in which democracy initially manifested itself. With its gentle slopes and simple lines, the agora is in marked contrast to the National Assembly’s other locations and serves as a gathering spot where boundaries separating any particular groups present therein are blurred. Here, architecture truly is a tool for communication, playing a vital role in raising public awareness of democracy and its culture.



The case for self reliance in the landscaping industry By: Michael Mascarenhas CEO – Desert Group


The Landscaping industry has thus far been quite reliant on suppliers from countries other than the GCC for various products. These products have included some very ordinary products and often found within the region. These suppliers would typically hang the carrot of “you can have an exclusive agency”. These agencies come with various terms and condition prime among them being the carrying of stocks and some challenging sales targets. These terms and conditions are often driven with the threat of, if you do not deliver then there will be another who will take it. Often these supplies are made against stringent payment terms where cash is collected before deliveries are made. So all these terms, conditions and relationships are based ofcourse to boost the supplying firm’s quarterly financial figures and irrespective of how conditions are playing out in this region, the pursuit is relentless and at times the subtlety of threats to move away on non-compliance is all but visible. There have been earlier instances where landscaping products not needed in this region have been aggressively pushed irrespective of the impact on the environment. That dear readers is the state of affairs most of us in the landscaping industry would have gone through at some point of time in our working lives. Thus there has to be a better way to do business given how and where landscaping comes from and is going. Landscaping has been around much longer in the Middle East than in many western countries. The development of the Islamic gardens has been an inspiration to garden designers around the world. Now there is a young, well educated, well-travelled and growing population that is more tuned to experiences that satisfies our senses to see, smell and touch greenery. Governments are investing in infrastructure such as recycled water systems, and social infrastructure such as parks, gardens and urban greenery. The strategic location the Middle East countries as an important transportation hub, and tourist destination for leisure has been acting as one of the main drivers to the demand for high quality landscaping as well. Thus given the rising need for landscaping all stakeholders will have to ensure that this region gets more self-reliant on products that come from within this region and less dependent on products that involve carbon miles, additional costs and could be not so friendly to this environment. However, there is a business case as well. Post the financial crisis landscaping companies are very careful on how cash is generated and conserved. Many a time businesses are left with unnecessary stocks either due to changing demand, a sudden pull out of the agency agreement, or a change in business direction of the supplying foreign company – all impacting stocks held and hence cash getting locked. Landscaping businesses have wisened up and are refusing to hold unnecessary stocks and are willing to forsake agencies due to new and prudent financial and business policies. There is another reason as well. As landscaping companies shift towards adopting the principles of corporate governance as key to running successful companies, agreements that earlier were one sided towards the “agency” will move towards a win- win and equitable playing field. Most of these landscape product agencies will be forced to review existing agreements to bring equal benefit to both parties. One has already seen a shift towards environmental protection and hence regulation. The landscape industry has quickly adapted to the new reality. Whilst earlier it was just about too easy to export fertilisers and pesticides into this region causing a negative impact on ground water and soil, better regulation and monitoring has forced companies within the region to innovate and be less reliant on foreign agencies. This will also force companies to consider organic products manufactured locally, again benefiting the region. Thus given the latest trends companies operating within the landscaping industry are better placed to look at local solutions and create solutions that drive inclusiveness. This will not only have a positive impact and add to the financial strength of companies but create a sense of self confidence of our own capabilities within the region opening up avenues of education and innovation. A new phase is emerging in this part of the world.

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I It’s all in the soil

Evolution of

World Soil Day World Soil Day

5 December 2016 Save soils for now and generations to come. With business as usual humanity will require. more than two Earth planets by 2100 to meet food demand only – remember we have only one and there is no virtual planet to import.

Dr Shabbir A Shahid

Senior Salinity Management Scientist International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, Dubai

Dedicating a day to precious resource Soil which underpins the productivity of agriculture provides scientists with the opportunity to engage the global community.Therefore, it is essential that we must jointly raise our voice in the national and international policy debates, advocating for soil management approaches that contribute to achieving sustainable development and an equitable access to this finite resource, knowing that Soil sustains life. In recognition to the importance of soils we are closely working with colleagues across UAE and globally with our international partners for the sustainable use of soils and their conservation for food and ecosystem services for now and generations to come. The FAO has introduced the poster for the World Soil Day to recognize soils “Where food begins”

The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), in 2002, made a resolution proposing the 5th of December as World Soil Day to celebrate the importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing. Follow up to the IUSS resolution, and under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the “Global Soil Partnership,” the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Rome Italy has supported the formal establishment of the World Soil Day as a global awareness raising platform. The FAO Conference in June 2013, unanimously endorsed World Soil Day and requested official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the 68th UN General Assembly declared 5th of December as the World Soil Day. Dubai based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) since 2012 is joining the international community to celebrate this important day. The FAO has created official logo for the WSD to use globally.


In order to achieve many targets sustainably, related to soil and their functions without compromising the soil quality, it is essential to have science based soil information at national and global levels established and centralized for easy access and uses by potential soil stakeholders for land use planning and policy implications. In the absence of which science based informed decisions cannot be made, and the soils will continually be degraded and will undermine the Sustainable Development Goal 2-zero hunger (end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture), SDG 15-life on land (sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss) set for 2030. Currently the world’s soil resources are in only fair, poor or very poor conditions, and that conditions are getting worse in far more cases than they are improving. Where the science based soil information is available, the

future challenges are, how to transform soil knowledge to tangible actions to facilitate rational use of soil resources for sustainable national development, biodiversity conservation, environmental protection, climate change adaptation and mitigation. Globally, such information is usually available in the Division of Soil Surveys at the national level, and in the GCC countries such organizations do not exist and hence soil information if exist, is available in various organizations (Municipalities, Ministries, Environment Agencies, Universities etc) in the form of reports and maps. In the United Arab Emirates, national soil information exists in various soil survey reports conducted at various times and completed in 2012. The Dubai based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) has centralized national soil information of UAE, and other GCC countries at ICBA headquarters where a unique Emirates Soil Museum will be officially launched on 8 December 2016. Emirates Soil Museum – What does it showcase? Emirates Soil Museum is a unique facility in the MENA region offering opportunities to visitors to acquaint themselves with above and underground soil story. In the practical life what you see above the ground is a fraction of the complete soil story that excludes what is happening underground. The Emirates Soil Museum intends to provide some of the above and underground adventures. In the normal life above the ground provide you aesthetic and eye catching views of the green landscapes with diversity of plants, but you don’t see how the roots are distributed in soil to support plant by providing water and nutrients from underground. In addition, soil to be a medium for plant growth it has many functions; it filters water, recycles organic matter, provides nutrients essential for life, and above all provides ecosystem services. The Emirates Soil Museum provides ample opportunities to immerse with above the ground features through diversified exterior exhibits presented at Educational Landscape connected to soil museum. It presents diversified vegetation, trees, shrubs, grasses, native plants and some have medicinal values. Common rocks from UAE lying above the ground, seven circles presenting seven colors of sand from UAE reminding the souvenir frame tourists take with them from UAE. A distinct feature is a traditional Aflaj to transport water. Modern irrigation systems (drip and sprinkler) irrigating the landscapes are other above the ground features. There and number of interior exhibits showing soils in their natural conditions Soil monoliths and their relevance to food production,

19 An interior of Emirates Soil Museum showing diversified underground features.

The World Soil Day (WSD) celebration connects the community with soils to realize their importance for food and ecosystem services

ecosystem services and climate change. The world first discovery of Anhydrite soil in the UAE is also displayed in the museum. Emirates Soil Museum will be a unique place in the UAE for one stop soil shopping under one ceiling. The visitors will also have numerous interactive activities and games, including tasks such as understanding of soil and water salinity, acidity and alkalinity, soil color, water infiltration, double refraction of Calcite rhomb, access to soils related videos etc. We hope once the visitors completed the entire visit of Above and Underground Soil Story of Emirates Soil Museum, they will leave ICBA with an unforgettable experience as well as questions how to conserve and sustainably use soils for long term food production and ecosystem services. They will also realize the values of soils, knowing that fertile soil takes about 10,000 years to create and yet can be destroyed in minutes. Visitors not only leave Emirates Soil Museum stunned by the detailed, animatronic and interactive displays, but also with a deep appreciation for the ground they walk on.

I Soil

Prescription for Successful plant establishment in the Desert Profile Porous Ceramic (PPC); The No:1 soil amendmentSuccess story in amending poor native sand soil in Middle East and Gulf countries

By Joe Betulius

Vice President of Marketing, Profile Products LLC (USA).

Four years ago, one of our key customers, Desert Group Company, was commissioned to construct 10 international standard football pitches on behalf of the General Organization for Youth & Sports in the Kingdom of Bahrain. They found very poor soil structure on site, which led them to Profile® Porous Ceramics (PPC), incorporating approximately 229 tons of the Porous Ceramic as a major constituent of the 10 pitches’ root zone blend proved to be the winning formula. “We have been maintaining these pitches for the past three years and are very pleased with the performance to date,” reports Ian Gammond, Desert Turfcare General Manager. “We are seeing excellent root mass and depth throughout the 300mm soil profile and have managed to gradually reduce the water and fertilizer consumption over this period without noticeable effect to the turf sward.”


One of the main reasons the pitches are exhibiting excellent root development and reduced maintenance is because the Porous Ceramics also help the turf resist compaction even under heavy use. According to Gammond, “Although these pitches receive in excess of 60 hours per month playing time, the compaction levels are consistently in the optimal range. Other sports pitches we manage in the region that are not constructed using Profile ® products, the compaction levels are in extremely high ranges and require a more intense decompaction Programme.” Mr. Gammond concluded, “Profile ® is easy to install and we are confident that the Porous Ceramic was the right option for our project in the Kingdom of Bahrain.”

The Science behind the Success The foundation of healthy turf lies in the structure of the soil supporting it. The underlying cause of many turf problems can be solved by correcting soil structure deficiencies. Here is an examination of common problems in sand-based root zones, along with the ideal soil composition.

Sand / Peat Mix Peat is added to sand-based soils to improve water and nutrient holding. However, peat slows drainage, changes over time and decreases the air space in the soil. It also reduces non-capillary pore space. Sand / Profile® Mix Profile® brings sand back to ideal soil conditions by balancing pore space and providing excellent air space. It also increases moisture and nutrient retention.

Ideal Soil Ideal soil contains 50% solid and 50% pore space. The 50% pore space should be 1/2 capillary (water holding) and 1/2 non-capillary (air holding and drainage).

The solution- Profile® Porous Ceramic (Composition and Creation) High Total Porosity 74% Balanced Pore Space Air-Holding 35% Water-Holding 39% High Stability (3% degradation in 20 years) CEC 33 meq./100g (Profile® base mineral was clay)

Sand-based Root Zone Sand soils resist compaction, but have little water and nutrient holding ability.

Mineral Content: Illite clay (clay has CEC to hold nutrients) Opal CT (provides air- and water-pore space) Quartz (provides durable, stable long lasting particle) The inorganic soil amendment is mined and processed at facilities located in northern Mississippi, USA. The mineral is kiln-fired in a computer-controlled process that changes it into a dust-free porous ceramic particle with uniform particle size and the ability to withstand intense traffic. They are used in golf courses, sports fields and landscapes throughout the world. Profile® Porous Ceramics are used to replace peat, and permanently improve the air/water balance and nutrient-holding ability of sand root zones. Real world success and years of independent university studies leave no doubt that Profile® is more effective than peat or other inorganic amendments at balancing air and water pore space and enhancing nutrient uptake over the lifespan of your greens.


I soil

Greater Drought Resistance Computer modeling studies, completed by Dr. Ed McCoy with The Ohio State University in the United States, examined differences in watering frequency of three different mixes in sand-based soils. The studies were completed using a validated simulation of water flow and turf grass stress within a golf putting green. These studies addressed root zone water retention, hydraulic conductivity, turf grass stress and root zone aeration in three root zone samples: un-amended sand, a 15 percent by volume Profile® Porous Ceramic, and a 15 percent by volume sphagnum peat. The lines show increasing drought stress during the daylight hours. The Profile® -amended root zone increases oxygen levels to allow for deeper rooting and better utilization of water throughout the root zone. Comparing the curves from days 4 to 7 shows that the Profile® amended root zone delayed the onset of drought stress by about 3 days relative to un-amended sand and by about 2 days compared to sphagnum peat amendment.

Managing Salinity Research also proves there are no salinity hazards using inorganic amendments. Inorganic amendments such as Profile® Porous Ceramic are used to increase water and nutrient retention in sand-based root zones. However, there has been a perception that root zones containing these amendments may lead to salt retention within the root zone. A column leaching experiment was also conducted at The Ohio State University in the United States by Ed McCoy, Ph.D. and Keith Diedrick, Ph.D., to determine if the presence of inorganic amendments within the root zone had an influence on the leaching of salts from a putting green soil profile. Comparisons were made between an unamended sand root zone, and root zones containing Profile® , other less durable inorganic amendments and sphagnum peat. This chart shows that the breakthrough curves for sodium (Na) were all similar. There was no significant difference in leaching among the inorganic amendments. The organic peat was found to


be the most delayed for salt leaching. Additionally, any leaching differences were related to the water contents of the columns prior to leaching. This experiment did not find any kind of salinity hazard from the use of high rates of inorganic amendments within turfgrass root zones. The diffusive salt exchange between the leachable, inter-particle porosity and the non-leachable, internal porosity was sufficiently rapid, indicating that a typical irrigation cycle should displace accumulated salts.

Profile® Porous Ceramic Are Made for Middle East Native Sands Sands in the Middle East are typically clean, but have deficiencies that need to be addressed to better support sustainable vegetation. As Ian Gammond and the Desert Group discovered, these deficiencies can be permanently corrected by incorporating Profile® Porous Ceramics into native sands. Middle East native sands typically: Contain many fines and have deficient air space for infiltration and deep rooting Have limited water-holding capacity Are high in pH, decreasing fertilizer update Can be toxic due to pH and are typically high in sodium (Na) which is detrimental to plants Incorporating Profile® Porous Ceramics will permanently: Increase the water-holding capacity of the sands Increase the air porosity, allowing infiltration of water and air space for deep rooting Lower the pH to increase nutrient uptake and save on fertilizer requirements Help in managing sale issues in native sands or TSE irrigation water that contains salt. For further information on Profile® products please contact

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I spotlight

Richard Corlett Landscape Architect at Hortus

Richard Irving Corlett

What is Hortus? Hortus is a leading source of information about landscape and garden plants for the Middle East. It’s a desktop application aimed particularly at the needs of landscape architects, horticulturalists and planting designers, and contains many powerful features to make researching and selecting plants easy. How did you come up with the idea for Hortus? For many people, landscape means plants and greenness: the two ideas go together. We all acknowledge the benefits of planting in the landscape, while the diversity of plants that can be grown in the Middle East is a source of design inspiration and pleasure. However, most landscape


professionals in the region are from diverse parts of the world having quite different climatic zones and planting palettes. So where do we go for information about the plants we should use in this region? Several useful planting books are available and a few are specific to the region, some of them recent and some written by the Middle East’s planting pioneers many years ago. There are also some useful websites from which valuable information can be extracted. Nevertheless, there still continues to be an absence of reliable information that is targeted at the particular needs of landscape architects and planting designers. Hortus aims at addressing that need, and unlike a book, Hortus’ database is periodically updated with new species and information added. Have you any other aims for Hortus? I would like to think that Hortus does assist in achieving more successful planting schemes and better use of plants in our landscape projects. It is easy to rely on a limited range of tried and tested species that are used in abundance everywhere, whereas Hortus will usually come up with some other alternative plant selections. I also frequently see new planting schemes where plant spacings are far too close, resulting in rapid overcrowding and maintenance headaches, as well as inflating project costs and irrigation requirements. Hortus contains recommendations for plant spacing and other practical considerations. How many plants are listed in Hortus and what other information does it contain? There are presently more than 700 plant species in Hortus, plus


Plants database for the Middle East 25

• 700+ plants • 2000+ pictures • Data sheets • Power search • Export as PDF • Export to Excel • Windows or Mac • NEW!! with Arabic ...much more


I landscape & Architecture

details of many varieties, with access to several thousand pictures. For each plant there are up to 50 different items of data, for example its performance in particular areas, whether it is poisonous, its heat tolerance, its geographical origin, its cultivation requirements, and so on. I first started compiling the database in 1991 and added to it over the years as I worked in various countries of the Gulf region, discovering and using new plant species in each place. So let’s say I’m selecting my plant species for a particular project, how can Hortus help me? Hortus contains a very powerful search engine that finds the plants that meet particular criteria. So you could search for shade-tolerant groundcover plants that are recommended for a courtyard, or else find wind tolerant trees with excellent tolerance of coastal conditions. You have the option to view the results either as a table or as a set of thumbnails. Hortus can export the table as either a Microsoft Excel file or in text format, so it is then easy to import it into your CAD programme as the basis of a planting schedule. You also have the option of generating reports and data sheets for each species, which can be printed or exported as PDF files. Users can also add their own notes for any plant species. What are the current trends influencing planting design, and how does Hortus respond to them? Over recent years I have observed three particular directions that are potentially having a significant effect on our approach to planting design. The first of these is a growing interest in use of native plants for public landscape, which I am noticing particularly in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. I welcome this development, and have already added several new native plant species to those already in the Hortus database, with more to appear over the coming weeks. A search for native plants in Hortus returns around 63 different species, although these include plants that are native to different areas of the Middle East. Then the second trend affecting planting design is the increasing salinity of municipal irrigation water, making it essential to be aware


of each species’ tolerance of salinity if the success of the planting scheme is to be assured. This is not necessarily something new, brackish irrigation water has been the norm in Kuwait and many other places for many years. Hortus has always included information on salinity tolerance, based on much research over the years as well as personal field observation. Thirdly is the imperative that landscape plantings consume less water. While this is again not a new development, xeriscape and desert-style landscape solutions are becoming increasingly relevant and Hortus supports this by providing guidance on irrigation demand and drought tolerance for each species. In a totally different direction, we are seeing green walls being used in the Middle East and Hortus now includes a selection of plants suggested for green walls. What are your plans for developing Hortus now and in the future? In the pipeline we have Hortus 2.0, which is a new version of Hortus that has been in preparation for the past few months and incorporates some major technical advances, including a 64-bit application for Windows systems that support it. The primary aim has been to make the programme very fast and responsive. The second big feature in Hortus 2.0 is that it will run in either Arabic or English modes, so Arabic speakers will have access to a fully Arabic programme. The new version is in the final stages of development and testing, and is scheduled for release in early December 2016. Hortus 2.0 will be available as a free upgrade for all existing Hortus users. Further in the future I am planning to develop a version of Hortus for iOS (iPads and iPhones), and meanwhile the database will continue to be expanded with new plants, additional data and many new pictures. Is it possible to try Hortus before buying a licence? Yes absolutely, I very much encourage everyone to take advantage of our free 10-day trial period to evaluate Hortus and be sure that it is right for them before purchasing. Our website at provides further information and downloads.

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I thailand

AP (Thailand) Public Company Limited, the leading developer of residential properties for urban residents and innovator of design for unlimited functional space, recently handed over AP Unusual Football Field, a new concept football pitch to youngsters and people in Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum community.

Shaping concepts By: AP Thailand

The company put ‘AP Space’ concept into practice as it turned the community’s ‘waste’ area into a sports playground with a shape that is anything but a traditional rectangle. The concept involves creating football fields that fit into irregular shaped unused space, and are developed by AP Design Lab. These include an L-shaped pitch and a zig-zag ground for the young and other residents in the community to use together. At the handover ceremony, AP (Thailand) management, led by Deputy Chief Corporate Officer Khun Pattaraphurit Rungjaturapat and Khun Sappasit Foongfaungchaveng, Head of Corporate Marketing, also donated sports equipment and held a football clinic for the young in the community. They were joined by football veteran Aon - Rangsan Viwatchaichok, a former national team player and Louis Scott, a football loving star. Khun Pattaraphurit Rungjaturapat said, “We believe that any space can be adapted for a variety of purposes regardless of its shape. So we applied our expertise in space design and channeled our skills in the

design of living space to the design of community activity space. We went beyond space limitations to turn space that was not utilized to becoming a multi-purpose venue and a community bonding area.” AP held a football clinic to teach basic skills and drills such as: a stand-up and sit-down exercise in warm-up stretching, pairing for dribble-and-pass practice to improve concentration and teamwork, zig-zag passing, kicking the ball to the goal and a team competition. The rules were designed to make it interesting by getting the kids to compete in scoring from hitting sign boards with different points. All the kids who participated in the activity during the unusual football field handover were impressed and enjoyed their experience. more/1 Vachitpol Sirisawad, a 16 years-old boy said, “At first, I felt the field was small and narrow but as I played on it, the size did not matter and it didn’t make playing football less fun. It even made us feel challenged. It made us think more, particularly when it comes to calculating the distance to pass the ball to our friends. It’s fun though different.”

The football fields with unusual looks AP Design Lab designed to fit into available spaces e.g. L-shaped field and zig-zag field.


Top and below photo: The atmosphere during the handover of the AP Unusual Football Field and the youth football clinic at the Klong Toey community.


I thailand Back row, center) Mr. Pattaraphurit Rungjaturapat, Deputy Chief Corporate Officer, AP (Thailand) (back row, 5th from left) Mr. Sappasit Foongfaungchaveng, AP (Thailand)’s Head of Corporate Marketing, together with (back row, 4th from left) Louis Scott, football loving star, (back row, 8th from left) Aon - Rangsan Viwatchaichok, former Thailand national team player, and (back row, 7th from left) Khun Paitoon Prempracha, leader of the Klong Toey community, at the handover of the AP Unusual Football Field, a new-concept football pitch design-wise, at the Klong Toey community, Bangkok.

Rachapol Lavanavik, a boy aged 12 years said, “I’m so excited with the field that looks different from my usual pitch and today’s activity made me see clearly how good I am at football. I know where my strengths are and what I have to improve. My weakness lies in my lack of accuracy, particularly in goal scoring. The availability of a playground makes me want to practice football more than ever.” Srirat Nakngoen,a boy of 14 years said, “Normally we play football elsewhere but now that we have a new field, we can meet friends from another building without having to look for another playground. Every session in today’s activity was exciting, particularly the final one when the coach divided us up for a scoring competition where we had to hit the prepared sign boards. It’s very good as a practice of accuracy.” Aon - Rangsan Viwatchaichok, the former Thailand national team player and assistant coach at BEC Tero Sasana FC said, “The football

(Executive, right) Mr. Pattaraphurit Rungjaturapat, Deputy Chief Corporate Officer, AP (Thailand) and (executive, right) Mr. Sappasit Foongfaungchaveng, AP (Thailand)’s Head of Corporate Marketing, and AP (Thailand) lead a team to hold an activity to hand over the AP Unusual Football Field, a new-concept football pitch design-wise, at the Klong Toey community, Bangkok.


field is a sports playground for young people in the community to exercise together. It’s a creative way to support these kids. In the future, we may see some of those practicing on the field succeed in a football career.” Louis Scott, the well-known actor and pop star said, “A football field of this shape encourages kids to exercise their minds. You have to think ahead about the direction to dribble or pass. Moreover, the space is good to create bonding and improve the health of youngsters.” “AP is an expert at optimizing the use of space. We develop and design spaces for residents to make the most out of them just like the way we designed the football field. Our football fields are a learning space for a new generation of people and it will be a source of fun, recreational activity for them,” said Khun Pattaraphurit.


I urban renewal Rivermouth Park represents the ideal of a liveable, green city where its natural resources have been rediscovered and expanded as green infrastructure.

Schwäbisch Gmünd, a mid-sized town in southern Germany has engineered a farreaching urban redevelopment process resulting in a new green heart for the city.

Urban renewal By: A24 Landschaft The Berlin landscape architecture office A24 Landschaft was founded in 2005 by Steffan Robel. Its success has derived from projects that orchestrate the interplay between city and landscape, its designs for which have received national and international awards. The international team comprises around 20 architects and landscape architects, who work on public projects and competitions in the fields of landscape architecture

A generous staircase provides access to the water


and urban development on a variety of different of scales. Open areas give a city its face. The effects of high-quality design continue to radiate throughout its implementation. This conviction drives A24 Landschaft in its creation of open areas that fortify locations’ social and ecological sustainability. Contemporary yet not short-lived design is an investment in our shared future.

The redevelopment reincorporates the long forgotten urban stream into the city and creates attractive new open areas

Detail: Sculptural element that refers to the city’s history in gold and silver processing

Urban redesign: the green Center was made possible by large scale spatial re-which included the removal of streets and the demolition of buildings

This comprehensive project has structurally reoriented the inner city, including its traffic patterns. Historical urban structures were reexposed, new urban axes were formed and expansive public spaces were built. The predominant symbol of the urban development is the reclamation of the overbuilt river mouth. In recent years a paradigm shift has occurred, urban design now focuses more on water as an identifying characteristic of city. Up until a few years ago, the very Center of Schwäbisch Gmünd was traversed by a federal highway used by 35,000 automobiles each day. The river mouth was all but consumed by this transport axis, rendering the riverbanks inaccessible while creating major obstacles to the natural expansion of urban fabric; the green areas that did exist were cut off from the inner

Green promenade – Green Infrastructure: The new green-blue corridor provides space for the water and wildlife


city. The construction of a bypass tunnel completed in 2013 created the opportunity to comprehensively rethink the structure of the city. The river junction is set to become a point of connection between the new and existing open areas of Schwäbisch Gmünd. The overall urban development concept and detailed design have reclaimed the city’s green-blue corridor and enhanced its social and ecological sustainability – an effect that has not escaped the notice of the city’s inhabitants. A survey found that the transformation has significantly improved the opinion of the city for around two-thirds of its residents. Moreover, professional critics seem to share this opinion - in 2016 the project was awarded with three national prices.

The riverside path runs alongside the city‘s medieval defence wall and crosses a series of historic bridges

The new Josefsbach Promenade creates a green ring as it encircles the old town

I urban renewal

Left & Right photo: The historic, partially landmarked structures were restored and delicately expanded through contemporary design

The Old baroque city garden was carefully transformed

Playgrounds, sport facilities and cross-generational activities alongside the redevelopment round out the programme

The Netvilla: a climbing frame as tall as a house forms a complex threedimensional structure, creating a play 8 meter high. Climbing sculpture with colored wooden elements

Landscape Design: A24 Landschaft Landschaftsarchitektur GmbH Client: Landesgartenschau Schwäbisch Gmßnd 2014 GmbH Construction period: 2011-2014 Construction costs: 13.5 million Euro Total area: 14.6 ha Photography: Hanns Joosten



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I interview

In Conversation with

Mr. Henry Duck Associate of The Vero Studio

Tell us about your experience in the GCC area. I arrived in Dubai in early 2013 and worked for a well known landscape practice for three years before Joining The Vero Studio in March 2016. During my time in the UAE, I have worked on a wide range of landscape projects ranging from small residential villas right up to large scale luxury resorts and hospitality projects. The projects have been located throughout the GCC area including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Having worked in London previously and now the middle east, I feel the speed and unique construction projects in the GCC region offer the opportunity to get experience which just simply isn’t available in other parts of the world. My first experiences of landscape came at the age of twelve when I got a weekend job working for a local landscape contractor in my hometown back in the UK, this work continued throughout my school holidays and ultimately influenced my decision to study Landscape Architecture at university. This experience provided me with an early insight into landscape construction and sparked a passionate interest in something which has now become my career. When was The Vero Studio Studio established? The Vero Studio studio was established in 2010 with the idea of providing a boutique landscape design studio who could offer a unique design service throughout Dubai and the GCC region. Dubai has a relatively small and well known selection of landscape practices and the intention of The Vero Studio being formed was to provide something a


little bit different. The Vero Studio is a sister company of Delta Lighting who are a leading lighting design consultancy in Dubai. One of the ideas behind the formation of The Vero Studio was that both companies could work in parallel with each other and offer a strong and wide ranging service to clients. What are your core values as a company? The Vero Studio’s core values are to provide a creative and design led ethos within our small studio in Dubai. We aim to provide a stimulating working environment which encourages interaction and collaboration between our designers with the end goal of providing the highest quality design for our clients. One of The Vero Studio’s key aims is to explore, enhance and integrate into our designs the integral components of architecture, art, culture and ecology. Myself and the other company leaders work very hard to follow our values and ensure we do not become a plan factory who rolls out the same design on every project. What is the company’s greatest achievement to date? Our greatest achievement has to be the sheer number of projects that have been completed since the company’s inception in 2010. To date, more than one hundred projects have been successfully completed and this number continues to increase almost on a monthly basis. Most of these projects have been large scale and of local and international significance so it is a testament that this has been achieved whilst

What kind of projects excite you? To an extent, all projects excite me as no matter how small a project may seem, it always presents interesting challenges and opportunities to try something new. However, if I had to choose a favorite type of project it would definitely be resorts and ideally beach resorts! On some projects landscape can often be treated as a secondary element of the scheme and isn’t considered important. This isn’t the case with resorts as the landscape can be the determining factor of whether the resort is ultimately successful or not. I always find that a resort provides the opportunity to design an extensive range of spaces within what is usually a very pleasant setting. A few notable projects The Vero Studio are currently working on are the full design of an large five star beach resort in RAK which includes over 1300m2 of swimming pools and extensive landscape features all built in and around a carefully designed Wadi landscape which responds to the naturalistic landscape of RAK. The Vero Studio are also currently designing hospitality projects in Dubai, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi. In addition to design projects, The Vero Studio are currently undertaking supervision work of design projects such as Paramount Towers in Dubai and a five star desert resort in Abu Dhabi.

maintaining a core number of staff and not over growing the practice. Six years down the line, we’re at a point where we are beginning to have completed projects on the ground in Dubai which is very rewarding and reflects the efforts put in by the firms employees. What makes The Vero Studio Studio’s stand out as landscape architect firm? One of the unique features of The Vero Studio which I believe makes us stand out in the market is our design led ethos within the office and the way in which we approach our projects. It can be very tempting to apply previous designs on new projects and may also seem like the easiest way to meet the very demanding deadlines which occur in the middle east. In The Vero Studio, we do not have a ‘house style’ and believe in providing a project based design solution specific to the needs of both the Client and the project location. We also provide a very flexible and relaxing working environment and believe this is essential to get the best out of people, especially in the design industry.


I interview

What are your thoughts on Landscape Architecture in the GCC? I feel that the GCC is at a very interesting stage at the moment in terms of Landscape Architecture and design in general. Although I have only been here since 2013, I have personally noticed a big change not only with projects, but also clients. I feel like Clients are becoming increasingly open to new ideas and are willing to take greater risks in terms of design to make sure their projects stand out. This is particularly the case in Doha where some very interesting projects are currently on the ground and you only need to walk round areas such as Education City in Doha to really notice this.


What is your goal with the company? My goal for The Vero Studio is to continue to oversee the development and growth of the practice whilst maintaining and adding to our team of vibrant, creative and passionate Landscape Architects. The key challenge ahead will be to grow the firm whilst maintaining our founding principles of being a small to medium sized boutique design practice. My goal for the next five years is for The Vero Studio Studio Studio to become the ‘go to’ Landscape firm in the UAE and offer a world class design service which not only provides the best service for clients, but also attracts the best designers. On that subject, The Vero Studio are always looking for bright and talented Landscape Architects so if you’re reading this with interest then please get in touch.


I architecture and design

An urban archipelago By: Stefano Corbo The Liget Project, as established in its general strategy, aims to turn the City Park into one of the most important museum areas of the world: nature and architecture will coexist in a unique and vibrant environment, in which visitors can enjoy both the naturalistic beauty of the park, and the exiting activities planned by the different new institutions: the National Gallery and Ludwig Museum, the Museum of Ethnography, the Museum of Architecture and Foto-Museum, and the House of Hungarian Music. Even though in Budapest several classical concert halls are already present, the House of Hungarian Music wants to be an innovative cultural platform for music: in fact, its main challenge is not only to provide a modern and performing event hall for several events, but manly to open the heritage constituted by Hungarian Music to domestic and foreigner visitors. For that reason, the new building will work as a Cultural Center, based on exhibition spaces, educational- multimedia spaces, library, and other small activities capable to attract people (café, shops, lecture halls, etc.). So the real character of the House of Music is hybrid: basically it’s a didactic-educational institution, Centerd on an intense cultural activity, but at the same time is a public-collective space where people can gather and share different events.


Once accepted the general conditions of the programme, “An Urban Archipelago” attempts to re-create on the site of the City Park the same complexity and heterogeneity typical of the contemporary cities. In order to achieve that, it’s necessary to work with fragments and diversity: if in the XIX-XXth century, Budapest urban grid was made of Cartesian axes and regular blocks, today An Urban Archipelago manipulates such regularity, by introducing difference and repetition. The House of Hungarian Music will be constituted by small different objects, connected each other by common routes and a general landscape configuration. Every object will have its own specific function and identity. If compared with the huge extension of the City Park, the new House of Hungarian Music, conceived as the sequence of objects, will work as an urban archipelago: isolated and autonomous in its own configuration, but at the same time interconnected in each of its components. Just by using the fragment as guiding light of the entire design process, An Urban Archipelago will achieve two fundamental challenges: on the one hand, the functional and formal heterogeneity of the city is thus reproduced in the middle of the City Park, with many different and interconnected buildings, settled into a naturalistic promenade. On the

other hand, a kind of alliance between nature and architecture is created. All of the existing plant and tree species, present on the project site, are preserved. Like a puzzle, the House of Hungarian Music is built all around the trees, and no tree is cut down. By respecting the current green configuration, the House of Music appears as hidden in the middle of a forest. From outside, only few buildings are perceivable. Inside, the landscape strategy invite visitors to venture into this “forest”, and enjoy the sequence of architectural and naturalistic spaces. A sort of architectural camouflage is achieved: only the most important functions are visible from the distance: and at night, music and light will guide the visitor to the right building !

Configuration and program The House of Hungarian Music will consist of different objects, with different specific functions: the Event Hall, Permanent and Temporary Exhibitions, Learning Center, Office-Staff area, Artefact Handling, Café, Museum Shop, Info Ticket. Every fragment is different from the other, formally and functionally. House of Music’s representative functions are of course the Event Hall, the Exhibition areas and the Learning Center: for this reason they are higher than the rest of the functions (15 mt), and have a different material configuration, in order to outline their importance and their immediate recognisability. These functions also constituted the conceptual core of “An Urban Archipelago”: like a Russian Matryoshka, all around them smaller objects are installed (the staff area, café, museum shop, lounge, baby care, info-ticket, etc); and all of the in-between spaces among them are occupied by the existing trees and green surfaces. So, “An Urban Archipelago” can be read as the superposition of three different sub-groups: the central core of the project, constituted by the Concert hall, the exhibition spaces and the Learning Center, cladded with a perforated metal grid, capable to show what happens inside the building; a second sub-group formed by small “islands”, complementary functions

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I architecture and design for the development of the general programme; and lastly, the Green area, constituted by the existing trees that completely wrap the House of Music. Despite of the peculiar topographic configuration of the site, “An Urban Archipelago” is designed to guarantee the highest level of accessibility: actually the access to the buildings is allowed for cars, pedestrian, bikers, and mainly public transportation. Of course the use of public transportation is strongly encouraged: so visitors can reach the site by bus and access the complex from south. There they will find the info-ticket building, before entering the different functions. Bikers can leave their bike at the entrance and follow the same route. At the same time, employers and staff can also enter the buildings from north, where they can find their offices, their changing rooms, lounge area, etc. In order to facilitate storing, packaging, and handling, the artefact handling functions are located on the northern border of the site, with two specific accesses. As stated by the programme, a small underground parking area for 20 cars is located on the west side: cars’ route is totally distinct from pedestrians’ route, so there is no interference or superposition. Sustainability “An Urban Archipelago” is based on a rigorous bioclimatic approach: every design decision is made to optimize energy performances and economical costs. For example, thanks to the use of u-glass and polycarbonate panels (in the interiors), it’s possible to manage and control a great amount of energy, to reduce maintenance costs and save money for heating and

hydraulic systems. The right use of these materials will create a welltempered environment able to achieve the optimization of the energetic functioning of the building. At the same time, the respect and preservation of the existing vegetation will permit to protect the buildings from wind, atmospheric agents, and control the general level of comfort. In order to be more precise, we may say that “An Urban Archipelago” ‘s sustainable strategy is based on four different categories: ecology, energy reduction, waster reductions, and health. Each category can be analysed according to different themes: biodiversity, greening, water conservation; daily energy efficiency; C02 reductions, waste reduction; and lastly, interior environment, water resource, wastewater treatment.


By applying for these categories, the proposal for the House of Hungarian Music attempts to build a real “green” architecture. Biodiversity, water, conservation, daily energy efficiency, CO2 reduction, construction waste reduction, indoor wnvironment, water resource and garbage treatment.

LIGET BUDAPEST COMPETITION Budapest 2014 House of Hungarian Music Design: STEFANO CORBO STUDIO Architecture and Design

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I transformation

As a place of respite in a stressful medical center environment, Spirit of Women’s park offers many opportunities for users to immerse themselves in nature.

Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography

Chlois G. Ingram Spirit of Women Park Understanding the medical center’s shortage of meaningful open space, MKSK proposed to repurpose an underutilized flat lawn panel as a respite garden and new ‘home’ for the re-imagined Spirit of Women Park. The park’s

The Spirit of Women park space sits at the entry to the main hospital and helps provide a sense of arrival. Framed by native planting the main fountain offers dramatic views from the patient rooms looking out over the park.

Making a difference By: MKSK: Landscape Architect I Urban Design I Planning

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute – is one of the nation’s premier centers for the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. Opened in December 2014, it features the world’s most advanced cancer hospital, which incorporates patient care, teaching and research space on all floors. 44

Sahar Coston, OLIN

The OSUCCC – “James” marks a milestone in the long-range transformation of the Wexner Medical Center campus, a multidisciplinary academic medical institution located in Columbus, Ohio, on the main campus of The Ohio State University (OSU). The $1.1 Billion Medical Center Expansion project is part of the One Ohio State Framework, a 50-year master plan for university resource, building and land use. Beginning in 2007 and working in collaboration with Sasaki Associates, the OSU Wexner Medical Center and the University Board of Trustees, MKSK lead the comprehensive master planning effort for the OSU Medical Sciences District that included a phased approach to accommodate short-term goals and establish long-term strategies. In addition to the expansion initiative, MKSK was engaged as the landscape architect for the phased implementation to the medical center’s infrastructure and open spaces, including the re-imagined Chlois G. Ingram Spirit of Women Park, the Phyllis G. Jones Legacy Park, the Gerbig, Snell/ Weisheimer Children’s Park, the new James Forecourt Plaza and Phyllis Kaldor Hope Garden. Together these spaces at the Wexner Medical Center combine to provide places of RELAXATION, REFLECTION and RENEWAL.

The park and fountain design reinforce the premise “To honor those special women in all of our lives” and hopefully touch the next generation.

Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography

former location stood in the way of the new Cancer and Critical Care Tower expansion. The new Chlois G. Ingram Spirit of Women Park was designed to honor the lives of extraordinary women and recapture the soul of the original park, while creating a signature new healing place of respite for the Wexner Medical Center. As the centerpiece of the new park, a donor fountain is framed by sculpted landforms, bluestone paving, and native plantings to create a reflective and compelling place for patients, visitors and staff. Every aspect of the park was meticulously thought out to include a variety of spatial experiences for the user. The design transports the user to a natural environment within the dense urban fabric of the medical center. The park’s organic landforms and plantings work together to mitigate noise from the surrounding vehicular streets, providing an enclave of intimacy and reflection. Visitors can relax among the ever-changing wildflowers selected to bloom throughout the seasons, or gather at the handicapped-accessible tables to dine alfresco from the nearby café. Doctors and interns can utilize the park’s secure Wi-Fi capabilities to complete their patient charting, or simply spend time reflecting in front of the donor fountain. The original park, named for Chlois G. Ingram, a dedicated American Red Cross volunteer at the medical center during the 1950s and ‘60s, featured colourful, hand-painted ceramic tiles mounted to concrete walls between cascades of water. The tiles told personal stories and honored women, both living and deceased, in their roles as mothers, grandmothers, sisters, nieces, friends, teachers, healers, and mentors. The original desire to reuse the multicolored ceramic artwork from the former park proved unfeasible due to the weathering and fragility of the original ceramic tiles. As a result, developing a means to recreate these personal stories, which are as unique and varied as the donors themselves, became the landscape architect’s greatest challenge.

By continuing the Chlois G. Ingram legacy, this park provides a dramatic signature space for the Wexner Medical Center, but more importantly provides a place of respite and healing for caregivers, staff, visitors, and patients alike to reduce stress and improve their well-being. Forecourt Plaza The 1.25-acre Forecourt Plaza, set beneath a dramatic canopy, serves as the main entry to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (The James) and accommodates the active movements of patient circulation, shuttle buses, and visitor access to the adjoining parking garage. Intricate paving patterns, seating areas and planting, a respite garden, and a performance stage, set within this linear plaza, have been designed to

The parks use of native plants, accented with sculptural landforms and flowing paths, provide a sense of nature within the urban context of the Medical Center and define spaces of respite for away from the heavily traveled vehicular entries. Sahar Coston, OLIN


Use of native plantings - grasses, wildflowers, shrubs and trees – were carefully chosen to thrive in the dense urban environment of Columbus and the Medical Center.

Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography

MKSK developed a design solution by which each tile was individually photographed and painstakingly digitally traced in order to maintain the diligent handmade quality of the original artwork. Based upon the original tiles sizes (4” x 4”, 8” x 8” or 12” x 12”) MKSK assembled the 1,515 individual graphics into 97 mosaics of glass panels. The artwork was etched using a ceramic frit and baked into the glass. The recreated art tiles were incorporated into a dramatic donor fountain that sits on a tapestry of bluestone paving and serves as the central feature in the new Spirit of Women Park. As the focal point of the new Spirit of Women park, the donor graphics have been given new life by placing the mosaic glass panels, as if floating, into a crescent shaped reflecting pool stretching 175’ in length. The glass panels are now clearly visible just beneath the smooth reflective surface of the water. The appearance at night is striking, as the crescent shaped fountain is illuminated from the edge with LED light strips allowing the artwork to glow above the base of the dark granite basin.

I transformation

Nick Fancher, Shutter-Think Photography, LLC

Dedicated in 1993 and created by famed artist Alfred Tibor, the re-located Spirit of Hope sculpture provides inspiration to patients, their families, and caregivers.

woman, who came to be known as “Hope” and the birds, which Mr. Tibor described as free, flying and healthy, reflect optimism about a tomorrow without pain, sadness or fear. The statue was refurbished and moved to become the centerpiece of the garden and dedicated to all people, offering hope and inspiration. Phyllis A. Jones Legacy Park Just south of the forecourt spanning 10th avenue, the 2.4-acre Jones Legacy Park provides a dramatic “front” lawn to the new James. Challenged to provide a space that invokes the spirit of The Ohio State University, the design team reimagined the iconic “Oval” with its “Echo” path system to organize the space and provides dramatic views from patient rooms in the adjacent tower. Paving materials, site furnishing and the iconic serenade of the Orton Hall chimes, programmed into the light pole speaker system, were all part of the final design to help create the distinctive OSU sensibility for this multipurpose open space. Mrs. Jones, hopes the park will provide a restful, peaceful garden where patients, visitors and staff can find comfort and solace.

Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography


Custom designed play surfaces, a climbing wall, a sensory garden, and a “mini” nature trail complete with overlooks and custom slide, help create unique outdoor environments for play and learning.

Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer Children’s Park Tucked behind Jones Legacy Park, the Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer Children’s Park provides opportunities for outdoor play specially designed for the Wexner Medical Center’s younger visitors. Custom designed play surfaces, a climbing wall, a “sensory garden area”, custom slide, and a “mini” nature trail complete with overlooks, make it a unique outdoor environment for play and learning. Ample seating areas and close proximity to a future café will help make this a popular destination for kids and adults alike.

The Ohio State University Medical Center is a multidisciplinary academic medical center located in Columbus, Ohio, on the main campus of The Ohio State University. The Medical Center Expansion landscape and campus strategy includes large areas of public green space.

provide places of calm for visitors, patients, and staff. The guiding design principal was a commitment to enhanced patient and visitor experience with a focus on the integration of cancer research and clinical care.

MKSK’s involvement in the project has spanned from initial planning to the design and implementation of several major green spaces including, the new Forecourt Plaza and roof gardens the Jones Legacy Park and the Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer Children’s Garden.


Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography

Challenged to provide a space that invokes the spirit of The Ohio State University, the design team reimagined the iconic “Oval” with its “Echo” path to organize the space and provides dramatic views from patient rooms in the adjacent tower.

Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography


Phyllis Kaldor Hope Garden Located just outside the main entrance to The James, at the western edge of the Forecourt Plaza, the Phyllis Kaldor Hope Garden is the new home to the “Statue of Hope” which was designed by renowned sculptor Alfred Tibor. The 13-foot bronze statue was originally dedicated in July 1983, on the front lawn of the original James Cancer Hospital. The statue depicts a woman releasing three birds that represent man, woman and child. The

MKSK worked closely with the full-time University ADA Coordinator to ensure the entire campus including the Children’s Park was compliant with current ADA standards. With multiple modes of transportation serving the medical campus from pedestrian, personal vehicles, buses, and transit shuttles, close attention was paid to the pick-up, delivery and path of travel from the various locations. Clear visual markings, both at grade and vertical elements were incorporated to demark the safe path of travel. The custom children’s playground was designed to accommodate universal play, respite gardens provide for wheelchair seating adjacent to precast benches, and picnic tables seamlessly accommodate the handicap patron. Compliance in hospital settings is not an option but a necessity for day-today operation.

Intricate paving patterns, seating areas, planting and respite garden set within the Forecourt Plaza have been designed to provide places of calm.


I transformation

Rooftop Gardens MKSK was instrumental in providing sustainable design solutions in support of OSU’s commitment to eco-friendly construction and operation. The Design Team collaborated with the Design Architect/Architect of Record to develop an accessible greenroof for the Cancer and Critical Care Tower’s 14th floor. These open-air gardens serve as a source of inspiration and reprieve for patients and visitors. The roof gardens include flowers, trees and shrubs, along with hardscape paving and provide a view of either downtown Columbus to the south or Ohio State’s campus and stadium to the north. The southwest roof terrace is designed as an edible garden, showcasing fruits, herbs and vegetables currently being researched with cancer fighting properties. This produce will be used by the chef in meal preparation at the adjacent executive kitchen. The sustainable site development initiatives incorporated on the roof gardens and Spirit of Women Park, helped the expansive Critical Care Tower achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), exceeding the University’s goal of Silver and will use 20% less energy than a regular facility of its size. MKSK’s involvement has spanned the arc of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center from initial planning stages through implementation of all public spaces throughout the new medical center campus with a focus on creating tranquil environments that encourage innovation and collaboration. Project Names: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States Landscape Architect: MKSK I Olin


Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography

Randall Schieber, Randall Schieber Photography

Together these prominent spaces combine to provide quality outdoor environments that support the Wexner Medical Centers mission to improve people’s lives through innovation in education, research and patient care.


MKSK collaborated with architects to create a fully accessible green roof garden on the tower’s 14th floor, a portion of which is designed as an edible garden containing vegetables with cancer fighting properties

Set within the Jones Legacy Park, the Gerbig, Snell/ Weisheimer Children’s Park provides a unique outdoor environment for activities specially designed for the Wexner Medical Center’s younger visitors.

Since 1990, MKSK has made an impact on the design and planning fields with creative solutions to a diversity of design challenges. A combination of creative problem solving and technical expertise has resulted in hundreds of built projects. With a studio of gifted professionals and a guiding principle of design excellence, MKSK strives to raise the standard of landscape architecture, land planning, and urban design services. The firm’s success is based on a team of design and planning professionals driven to push each project to a higher level of quality. With backgrounds in landscape architecture, planning, and urban design the staff brings a broad range of skills, creativity and experience to each project. From concept to construction detailing, strategic planning to implementation, an emphasis on innovation is the hallmark of our design studios. The diversity of projects and the consistent high-quality design expertise has created a growing sphere of recognition and respect for MKSK in the industry. From urban parks to environmental parks and from campus planning to community planning, the work of MKSK has generated a network of satisfied clients and users throughout the region, the country and abroad. With the goal of meeting new design challenges with fresh ideas, MKSK is at the forefront of the profession, leaving as a legacy the beauty of its craft on the land.




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6-7 February 2017 - Abu Dhabi, UAE Creating sustainable, liveable and attractive cities through innovative landscaping and public realm initiatives

AN EXCELLENT AGENDA put together with the assistance of a stellar line-up of speakers: Benjamin Heydon Technical Landscape Consultant, Sustainable Infrastructure, Standards & Specifications (SISS) Section, Abu Dhabi Municipality Hrvoje Cindric Senior Masterplanner, ARUP Geoffrey Sanderson Principal Landscape Architect, AECOM

Ian Rose Associate, Cracknell

Walter Bone Senior Landscape Manager, DEC Engineering Consultants

Andre Badawy Regional Director Landscape, Arcadis

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Marlon van Maastricht Senior Landscape Architect, Arcadis Peter Scott Director -Landscape Architecture, Khatib and Alami

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Books of interest Landscape Installation Art II ISBN: 9789810933692 PUBLICATION DATE: 24 Sept. 2015 HARDCOVER: 272 pages

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A 100 square meter flower pavilion that roams central London; delicate golden rice

OUDOLF HUMMELO ISBN-9781580934183 PRISE-215.00Dhs.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “Piet Oudolf is best known for his now-iconic designs for the High Line in New York City and Millennium Park in Chicago. Hummelo, his own garden in The Netherlands, is visited by thousands of gardeners each year. It serves as his personal design and plant propagation laboratory, and is where he has honed his aesthetic and created new varieties of plants for over three decades.

World Landscaping

Publisher: Artpower International; Bilingual edition (9 Sept. 2014) ISBN: 9789881249173 Hardcover : 416 pages Price: 747 AED BOOK DESCRIPTION: Presents a selection of award-winning and acclaimed projects from top international

illuminated to honor the king of Thailand in Bangkok; a heart in Times Square made of planks from boardwalks destroyed by Hurricane Sandy; an entire 65 foot tall tree in Illinois left whole and turned into a swing set, picnic area, and snack kiosk. All of these projects and dozens more are on display in LANDSCAPE INSTALATION ART II, a collection of public installations both large and small from locations worldwide

This title charts how the garden of one of the world’s best-known and most-loved plantsmen has evolved, and gives frank assessments of his experiments that have gone both well and awry. Hummelo, timed to coincide with Oudolf’s 70th birthday and his acceptance of Holland’s most prestigious cultural award, provides his throngs of followers with a chronology of how his naturalistic style and career has developed. Lush photography documents how the garden has changed and inspired him over the years, and text by prolific garden writer Noel Kingsbury will ensure a lively read for all home garden enthusiast”

landscape architecture firms. The design process is shown through numerous drawings and detailed descriptions of each project. The projects are split into ten categories: Residence and Garden, Commercial and Office Space, Waterfront and Ecology, Campus Planning, Planning Design, Parks and Green Places, Leisure and Entertainment, Plazas and Open Spaces, Tourism and Resorts, Traffic and Transportation.

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Landscape Middle East December 2016  
Landscape Middle East December 2016