Women’s Park, Al Guarsha National Park, Benghazi, Libya

Project Summary The Urban National Park will set new standards for city park design and sustainability locally and beyond. The design will create a new park on the southern edge of the city, bringing together communities and people from all walks of life, to enjoy a myriad of different active and passive leisure pursuits whilst fostering an appreciation of the natural environment. A key intention is to create a unique contemporary local design character to the park, enhancing a deeper understanding of local traditions and culture, the region’s vernacular and use of materials along with the cultural and social use of the external environment.

The new park, occupying a site of 600 hectares will transform the local landscape to accommodate traditional, recreational and relaxation pastimes with a range of new and challenging activities and themes provided for the benefit of the wider community. These will excite, inspire and heighten awareness of the natural world, sustainability, habitat and conservation. The masterplan was undertaken in collaboration with HED.

Roles and Responsibilities An important project in the development of several areas of experience for Richard personally, he enjoyed his role as Senior Associate / project lead, taking responsibility for the majority of this project.

Richard was specifically chosen to design the Women’s park due to his sensitive and considered approach to design. He was very closely involved with leading the masterplan design from site analysis and initial concept to detail design delivery, as well as taking overall design responsibility for all building design aspects related to appearance and materials (with the plans developed along a strictly functional brief by a separate team associated with the client).

Detail designs and construction drawings were developed for several selected exemplar buildings, which were drawn to a significant level of detail to allow the contract to be let to a single main contractor through an invited tender process administered by colleagues locally.

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Al Guarsha National Park Masterplan

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Al Guarsha National Park, Key Plan

Project Description In addition to a Local Centre for the park, providing amenity to all members of the public, there are dedicated parks for: Women, Retirees, Camping, Zoo and Theme Park which makes up a total of 600 hectares of Park on the edge of Benghazi.

Each park, substantial in itself, has a distinctive architectural theme. The Theme Park and Zoo have very specific technical requirements which require their own specific response. The zoo in particular has an innovative approach to the design where the wild animals can be seen displaying their natural behaviour.

The Retired People’s Park has a unique character, aiming to provide a relaxing and more traditional environment for older generations. The avenues and squares with their formal gardens aim to provide a more contemplative environment, with scope for social interaction around cafes, library and other buildings facing onto the main piazza in the local centre.

The Women’s Park has been designed to create an embracing, secure and nurturing family environment for women and children. The buildings have been designed as rammed earth structures, which ‘grow’ from the ground with subtle curving geometry, allowing the landscape to merge with the building. A sinuous bougainvillea planted pergola, inspired by an Arabic motif, threads its way through the park, acting as the main pedestrian circulation, providing shade, linking all the key character areas of the Women’s Park.

Roles and Responsibilities As Senior Associate responsible for the Women’s Park, Richard jointly designed it’s masterplan alongside HED and was responsible for the design of all built facilities in the park. This included client and consultant liaison, client presentations, and detail design of exemplar buildings.

Women’s Park Masterplan, Landscape Plan

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Women’s Park Wayfinding Plan

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Park Entrance with Administration Building beyond

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Park Entrance Administration Building

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Central Park footpath entrance with signage and Bougainvillea trellis in foreground

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Park footpath showing Bougainvillea trellis

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Park Facilities: Cafe in foreground, Children’s Centre in Background

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Park Facilities: Health and Leisure Centre