Misfat al-‘Abriyin, Oman. Designing for Sustainable Heritage Tourism Development: Master Plan and Implementation

Bandyopadhyay, S ORCID: 0000-0003-3231-9166, Quattrone, Giamila ORCID: 0000-0003-4145-7819 and Briguglio, C
(2020) Misfat al-‘Abriyin, Oman. Designing for Sustainable Heritage Tourism Development: Master Plan and Implementation. [Design]

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This heritage management and tourism development project at Misfat Al-‘Abriyin, a partially inhabited mountain oasis southwest of Muscat, is the first realised in Oman based on a cohesive regional strategy and settlement masterplan. In 2014 the ArCHIAM Research Centre was commissioned by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism to produce a Heritage and Tourism Development Plan for this settlement. An interdisciplinary team elaborated a detailed strategy and masterplan for the preservation and development of the oasis. Phase-1 of the masterplan implementation, funded by Bank Muscat, incorporated ideas from community workshops on the restoration, rebuilding and adaptive reuse of an information point/shop, bakery, restaurant, civic space and residents’ parking. The key questions explored, through design, how: • tourism-led heritage management of Omani mountain oases should be approached; • social history, cultural understandings and community input can inform and shape master-planning and design; • sustainable development can drive urban and architectural heritage rehabilitation; • contemporary design aspirations and use can be integrated with conservation demands. Extensive fieldwork resulted in detailed urban/architectural survey and ethnographic documentation. Ethnographic study of the ancient water infrastructure, cultural and social practices, privacy and expatriate labour occupancy, along with tribal social history and morphological studies shaped the masterplan as well as the Phase-1 components. A regional study of natural, archaeological and urban heritage sites proposed a networked strategy for tourism. Traffic volume and tourism economics analysis led to a tourist ‘gateway site’ downhill. A review of technologies for renewable energy production suggested to take Misfat entirely off-grid. The architectural designs have demonstrated how contemporary programme, material and architectonic aspirations can be brought into dialogue with the restored ‘old’. In November 2020 the project was inaugurated jointly by Ministry of Heritage and Tourism and Bank Muscat. It has been globally disseminated through public lectures and talks, and widely covered by the press and social media.

Item Type: Design
Uncontrolled Keywords: Architectural Design, Adaptive Reuse, Conservation
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 02 Feb 2021 09:42
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2021 07:29
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3115068

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