Madinat al Irfan, an Urban Centre in Oman

Omran, Oman’s master developer of major tourism, heritage and urban developments, appointed a team led by Allies and Morrison following an invited competition held by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to create a masterplan for a new city, Madinat al Irfan, on a 624 hectare side outside the Sultanate’s capital, Muscat. The masterplan has grown out of an understanding of Oman’s geography, culture and considered policy of sustainable development. The project has provided an opportunity to address issues which have long interested us as a practice.

In retrospection, we have written a series of essays that explore the different ideas and motivations which have shaped the work of the masterplan’s design team, as well as its implications – most especially the more resilient mode of urban development the project offers for Oman, its region and the wider world.

  • Foreword by Paul Finch, chair of the RIBA Competitions Jury which selected the team of Allies and Morrison, Arup and Kim Wilkie.
  • Extraordinarily ordinary, by Alfredo Caraballo
  • Why urban design codes?, by Nicholas Choy
  • On design, governance and place, by Sowmya Parathasarathy of Arup
  • Urban picturesque, by Alfredo Caraballo
  • A cultivated city, by Kim Wilkie, lead landscape architect
  • A city of bridges, by Graham Morrison
  • Epilogue by Nadia Maqbool, founding director of Omani architectural practice 23 Degrees North

Click HERE to download.


The exhibition – Madinat al Irfan, an Urban Centre in Oman – is on view at Allies and Morrison’s studios, 85 Southwark Street, London SE1 0HX until 20 October 2017. Open weekdays, 10 am – 5pm.