Muscat Bank in Oman

This building is designed to serve as a central hub for Bank Muscat, a financial services supplier with offices dispersed through the capital of Oman. The headquarters is finally going to have 2,000 employees, and was designed to offer a functional and charming construction promptly rooted in the Omani context. Security procedures were essential too, given that the construction is a fully operational bank and a workplace as well.

As a growing firm with offices in many sites in Muscat’s Central Business District, Bank Muscat was in a need for a headquarters near to the city’s airport and far from downtown. The location of the building is about 15 minutes from the airport by the car.

The construction’s height is somehow low and it is designed in L and U forms to create shaded courtyards to fit with Oman’s modern and traditional architecture. One of the courtyards looks like a Moroccan-style garden, and the other forms the major entry. The outdoor area is modern with traditional Arabic and Omani themes. While glass is mostly used, some of the windows are partially obscured by patterned screens and some of the facade terracotta tiles. Also water features and greenery are predominant to mirror the Arabic style in the building.

The internal arrangements merge both of the modern architecture with the functional needs of a new bank building. On the ground floor the construction has an internal street, with restaurants and coffee shops.

Naveed Haque, Mace project manager, explained that whereas some sides of the design were challenging, the final outcome was very worthy. “According to me, this street and the glass bridges above it are the best part of the design,” he said. “It was worth the build challenges as the result is the direct interaction between the public and the employees of the bank. This active link brings life and energy to the place”.

After all, members of the public will be within a high security building. “There was a need to integrate specialist security measures into the design and build, and this proved to be very complex,” explains Haque. “The specific security measures required by the bank needed to be addressed at the outset and continually refined.”

“The completed building has pushed some architectural borders in Oman” says Thotabaduge, the lead architect. “The country sometimes looks to play safe with new buildings by just copying the old. But we have utilized the patterned outdoor screening to manufacture a new interpretation of the mashrabiya. This mixed with the vibrant internal street has made something very distinctive.”


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