As much as concrete forest shrouds more area, people will realize the significance of open areas, especially green space. Perhaps, that’s how we ended up growing plants in our terraces, balconies, and even bathrooms. The more humans are confined in ac rooms, the more they comprehend the objective of oxygen. This interpretation might have inspired AECOM (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, and Management) to create ‘The Green Lung’ a breathing space within the education city campus in Qatar. Public open space is as substantial as institutional, religious, government, and residential spaces. An open public space is the only area that connects people by initiating social activities. It also helps improve city life and advances its liveability. An excellent public space will develop the environmental factors in its neighboring area. Even it enhances physical and psychological advantages among its population. For this, public space should be well-designed and well-functional. Let us discuss how AECOM has contributed its best to the public of Qatar. 

The Green Lung of Doha by Aecom - Sheet1
Overview of Oxygen Park _ ©Markus Elblaus

Ideology, concept, and purpose | Green Lung

Doha is one of the cities that is facing rapid urban growth. As a result of sudden urbanism and an increase in population incites Qatar to accelerate sustainable development in the fast-growing city of Doha for the welfare of the public. Oxygen park, the name itself defines the purpose and significance of this space. It is located on the boundary of an education city covering an area of ​​13.000 sq.m. This space is available for both students and the common public.

The Green Lung of Doha by Aecom - Sheet2
Green lung of Doha _ ©Markus Elblaus

Concepts are the soul of any design; without them, the design loses its rationality. Since the space has been planned in the desert region, AECOM sensibly encourages the native features as their primary concepts. Wind–eroded rock and the formation of fluid lands are their inspiration. Let’s further discuss how they implemented these elements into their design. The preeminent purpose of this concept is to boost passive cooling through its design and to accommodate various sports activities within the park. 

The Green Lung of Doha by Aecom - Sheet3
Inspired from wind eroded rock_©Markus Eblaus

Space, design, and structure 

Oxygen park incorporates folly squares, a water plaza, an equestrian track, underground pitching for team sports, walking tracks, running tracks, seating areas, an amphitheater, other recreational spaces for social activities, and garden areas. The running trails are designed in a way that is embedded with the computer-modeled topography of the site that creates the dynamic looping tracks. This topography is shaped in the site to inflate the passive cooling, and it acts as a shade over the walking track. 

The Green Lung of Doha by Aecom - Sheet4
Running tracks_©Markus Eblaus

As mentioned, the shaded walkways are situated underneath the undulating topography and between recreational areas. The walkways are created with the cooling tunnel system. To provide natural ventilation for partially enclosed tunnels and covered walkway AECOM followed the traditional Arabian wind towers method where the available breeze will be channeled to the passages through carved wind ducts huddled0 between the gardens. 

The Green Lung of Doha by Aecom - Sheet5
Enclosed walking tracks_©Markus Eblaus

In total, there are four folly squares which are air-conditioned pavilions. It can be used as a multipurpose space, a social gathering area, and a relaxation point. Each square has a sound system and a video-projecting screen that can be used as a classroom also. This reinforced concrete structure is again embedded into the topography. Its roof is covered with greens to reduce heat gain and advances thermal mass. 

The Green Lung of Doha by Aecom - Sheet6
Folly Square with green roof _©Markus Eblaus

AECOM implemented the wind–eroded rock concept in the main structure of the park which covers the walking track. The C-shaped roof covers one side of the track. The C-shaped reinforced concrete ribs bear on the limestone foundation below the park. Natural stone cladding has been used on the walls and soffit to achieve a monolithic appearance. 

C shaped concrete ribs _©Markus Eblaus
C shaped concrete ribs _©Markus Eblaus

The attractive water features like the water cascade and water plaza not only provide a refreshing experience for the users but also lifts the microclimate by reducing solar heat gain and helping in psychological factors as well as by sustaining the mental peace of users that is considered the ultimate purpose of public open space

Water cascade _©Markus Eblaus
Water cascade _©Markus Eblaus

AECOM precisely designed the complete park in buff color materials which is considered sympathetic to Qatar’s regional color. This blonde theme helps reduce the heat island effect and minimize glare. 

Native landscape _©Markus Eblaus
Native landscape _©Markus Eblaus

Lighting 

Lighting plays a vital role in captivating people’s attention, especially in the public space at nighttimes. The Lighting system is abundant in this park, from spotlights to large poles illuminate the entire area sufficiently at night time. The balloon-shaped lights that are installed ubiquitously throughout the park make the space visible from afar and throw a touch of a magical setting.

Balloon lights _©Markus Eblaus
Balloon lights _©Markus Eblaus

Sustainable movement | Green Lung

The preliminary goal of AECOM is to design this space with sustainable traits. Oxygen park embodies soakaways embedded with soft grass areas to store stormwater from the seasonal rainfall that seems to increase the ability of soil to drain water. The sporting activity areas have been rigged with a smart irrigation system to control water consumption.

Oxygen park is a live example of realizing how influential a public open space is. It acts as an overpass for humans to connect with nature. AECOM design shows us to design an area with maximum user comfort while maintaining and respecting the native characteristics and ideologies

References

Maria Erman (2017). Oxygen park Doha helps people get back to nature, by AECOM. https://www.designboom.com/architecture/oxygen-park-doha-qatar-aecom-11-29-2017/

Unknown. Oxygen park. https://archello.com/project/oxygen-park

Chanel Besson (2017). A green lung in Qatar’s desert landscape – Oxygen park by AECOM. (Last updated: October 10, 2017). https://prolandscaper.co.za/2017/10/case-study-green-lung-qatars-desert-landscape-oxygen-park-aecom/

Puskar Pande (2018). Sustainable buildings: Oxygen park, Education city, Doha. (last updated: August 9, 2018). https://greencleanguide.com/sustainable-buildings-oxygen-park-education-city-doha/

Madani Matadian (2022). Oxygen park by AECOM provides coolness at Qatar education city campus. (Last updated: April 7, 2022). https://anabata.com/architecture=oxygen-park-by-aecom-provides-coolness-at-qatar-education-city-campus

Author

Prateeksha is an architect by profession and an aspiring writer by passion. She started this journey of writing at very young age. She is now attempting to blend both her profession and passion to find herself in the world of architecture journalism. She is a fictional writer too and recently published her own poetry book.