Al Mawalih Souk of Life, Muscat / Sultanat Oman

2013 – 2016

The Central Fruit and Vegetable Market in Muscat, Oman is currently frequented only by Wholesalers and Tradesmen and remains unattractive to both the local community and visitors to the city. The unfortunate combination of parking without any shading, market stands without roofs and vast areas of paving result in unbearable conditions in summer.

As a result of careful planning a highly attractive public market is to be created, which is to also to be enjoyed even during high summer temperatures. Alongside the market the new souk with small-scale residential neighborhoods and commercial developments contributes towards a new and vibrant multi-faceted city district. A new Children’s Museum provides a further communal focal point.

haascookzemmrichSTUDIO2050 have, together with the specialist consultants Transsolar KlimaEngineering, developed a wide-ranging sustainability strategy combining state-of-the-art technology with local traditions and materials.The strategy embraces an energy concept which draws on traditional practice of using passive components such as solar chimney, earth channels, appropriate distribution of thermal mass, shading through projecting building forms and narrow streets, optimized building orientation, together with active components such as geothermal, photovoltaic and solar absorbers systems.


A Colonnade serves as a connecting element between the various shops and cafes which surround the central plaza, the oasis. Wooden louvers supported by ornately formed concrete frames provide the necessary sunscreening.The louvers are supplemented by „low-e“ coated awnings. During the nights the awnings are retracted to allow for the cooling of the Plaza and Colonnade.


The Souk is the vibrant heart of the Mawalih Souk of Life Development. Numerous shops, cafes and restaurants line the narrow lanes and small squares. This lively market lies directly adjacent to the peacefulness of the oasis, providing a contrast between two highly distinctive, very different situations. Large-format sliding wall elements ensure a simple means of flexibility within the shops. As in the case of a market hall the individual market stands can be opened up to create a single vibrant public space.

Children Center

The Children’s Center is a place for the entire family. A library, a small theatre, and a cafe defined by various picnic niches, reading and creative areas offer a wide range of amenity. A roof top terrace provides views out over the entire plaza.

Massive construction techniques are employed for both walls and floors ensuring generous thermal storage capacity, supporting an integrated cooling concept which draws on local resources through use of an earth channels and solar chimney.

Short Facts


Muscat Municipality

Planing Team

Urban Consultants
Gehl Architects – Copenhagen / Denmark

Energy Concept
Transsolar – Stuttgart / Germany

Structural Engineering
Schlaich, Bergermann & Partner – Stuttgart / Germany

Landscape Architecture
Atelier Dreiseitl – Überlingen / Germany


187.748 m2 GFA

Das Team


Freie Architekten PartG mbB

Gymnasiumstraße 52
70174 Stuttgart

Telefon: +49 711 22936260
Fax: +49 711 22936273

4th Floor, Number 1
Lane 299, Fu Xing West Road
200031 Shanghai
P. R China

Telefon: +86 138 1396 0504