One of the largest and oldest parks in Abu Dhabi, Umm Al Emarat Park was originally opened in 1982 as an exclusive park for women and children. Following an extensive 2 year renovation, the park has been fully redesigned and reopened to everyone, placing a newfound emphasis on community and family entertainment. The updated park is now positioned as a social hub for the region, both geographically and historically coinciding with its re-opening,
After its $48.7 million USD renovation, Umm Al Emarat Park is now home to numerous playgrounds, botanical gardens, water features, and a petting zoo intended to enrich the public’s experience. Working in conjunction with landscape architect VallyCrest, Crystal designed 14 modern water features that further the park’s themes of educational activity, heritage, and culture. Running along the park’s main promenade, illuminated water-walls help frame the boundaries of the memorial gardens. Elsewhere in the park, interactive fountains double as a dual use space that can be turned off for performances in the 1000 seat amphitheater.
Many of the amenities in Umm Al Emarat Park were a result of feedback the design team received during the construction process. Local groups and over 70 schools were invited to contribute suggestions regarding the park’s features, programs, and operations, helping mold Umm Al Emarat Park into an attractive public space. This community contribution ensured that there would be something to excite everyone in the park while giving its constituents a sense of ownership in the design.
Sustainability was also a core focus of Umm Al Emarat Park’s design intent. In an effort to preserve existing “green” infrastructure, 200 mature trees from the original park site were dug up and re-planted after the site was regenerated with fresh topsoil. For its irrigation, the park uses reclaimed greywater, reducing its overall water consumption by 40%. Thanks in part to these sustainable initiatives, Umm Al Emarat Park has been awarded a “Pearl 2” rating under the Estidama sustainable building standards used in the Middle East.
In 2015, Umm Al Emarat Park was recognized with an Award for Merit in the Design category by the American Society for Landscape Architects (ASLA) at their annual Colorado Design Awards.