Parametric Urban Design Model / Qurm

Within the research project, we developed tools and methods to map these environmental, cultural and programmatic parameters into a cohesive urban design mechanism. This mechanism can be adapted and applied to any site in Oman or the Gulf region from the scale of a few houses to larger mixed use developments.

The Petrol Development Oman (PDO) camp in Qurm, Muscat Capital Area, was built in the 1970s and is prone to redevelopment. In the larger context of urbanization processes of Muscat Capital Area it serves as a testing ground. A mechanism for dynamic program distribution, participatory land allocation, climate responsive urban design is implemented by means of a parametric urban design model. 

Sustainability – as defined by the UN millennium goals – needs to address multiple dimensions simultaneously: economical, ecological, social and cultural aspects of sustainability. Therefore the case study of the PDO camp bases its economical viability on the integration of ecological, social and cultural parameters particular to the site, climate and culture of Oman. Mapping methods trace environmental, cultural and programmatic parameters and feed them into a cohesive urban design mechanism. The developed tools interpret environmental data to generate urban design according to rules governed by climatic fitness criteria. The software prototype optimizes the climatic performance of the building envelope, distribution of program, accessibility within the plot and land-use and, as a result, produces a coherent urban design that is considerably more sustainable than the “cooky-cutter” patterns of most developments in the Gulf. This mechanism – developed for the site in Qurm – can be adapted and applied to any site in Oman or the Gulf region from the scale of a few houses to larger mixed use developments. 

Institution: aurel VR
with Carlos Ramos da Silva and Sergei Mikhailenko

resulting urban model
program allocation by self organizing maps
Eco Diagrams analyse site conditions and feed data into parametric model
internal and external constraints applicable to the parametric model
layered diagram of parametric urban model
parametric model - explained
interative parametric model of an urban block of 100 x 100 m
parameter 1: programme
parameter 2: number of coutryards
parameter 3: optimal wind direction
parameter 4: optimal solar direction
parameter 5: optimal view towards the sea
related: 

Compact City Oman

Compact city is a design for a sustainable neighborhood in Al Khoudh within the larger Muscat Capital Area based on cultural, climatic and economic criteria of sustainability. This model – both a research method to evaluate, interpret and integrate specific criteria of sustainability as well as a design proposal for a sustainable neighborhood - exemplifies an integrated approach to urbanism adapted to the local Omani conditions.

Bitterfeld Wolfen

The competition entry for the urban design in Bitterfeld-Wolfen explores a systemic approach to design along three lines of investigation: an ecological axis of transformation, a demographic axis of transformation and an economic axis of transformation. The design embraces the "artificiality" of the context and proposes a compact parametric urban design.

Brooklyn Smart Dots

Brooklyn Smart Dots originates in the radical re-conception of street traffic and proposes an intelligent surface of communicating luminous dots.

Sustainable Patterns of Urbanization in Oman

Since 2011 Aurel von Richthofen is Co-Investigator on the research project entitled "Towards Sustainable Patterns of Urbanization in Oman" funded by The Research Council Oman (TRC). He is a main contributor responsible for writing the report, editing the material, leading research assistants, coordinating symposia, conferences and exhibitions.

Featured in Muscat Daily

Article featuring Aurel von Richthofen in Muscat Daily, Sept. 21st 2011: The two-day conference on Sustainable Urbanisation in Oman concluded on Tuesday with a message that there is an urgent need to conserve energy and adopt eco-friendly measures to cope with rapid urbanisation that the nation is witnessing.

Eco Friendly House Competition

A team of GUtech students lead by professors Nikolaus Knebel, Martin Werminghausen and Aurel von Richthofen win the first prize in the Eco-Friendly House Competition organized by the Research Council Oman. The house will be built on the new Campus premise in Halban, Oman. The house features a radical design to minimize heat gain, includes passive and active energy-efficient technologies, the use of local materials (adobe). The building will serve as guest house for guest faculty coming to Oman.