Fascinating aluminium roof over Oman fish market

The new fish market in Muttrah, Oman, needs both shade and light. Norwegian architects Snøhetta planned for a fascinating solution – with an open lamellae canopy, made of aluminium from Hydro.

May 2, 2013

The roof, which is being installed at present, has a swinging shape that recalls both oriental calligraphy and sand dunes, a sea wave or a whale´s fluke.

"The architectural concept of the new fish market is based upon inspiration and interpretation of qualities of light and shadow, in the Omani traditions, natural ventilation and ephemeral appearance," says Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, director and founding partner in Snøhetta.

Irisiring light effects, fostered by aluminium´s high reflectivity, couple with a stringent shade function, both accomplished in a light construction, enabled by the light weight of aluminium.

"A heavy metal or wooden construction could never match this aura of gliding with the high functionality, low maintenance and long-term corrosion resistance to the salty water climate on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Yet still, we delivered 180 tons of 12 mm thick aluminium shate to realize this brilliant architecture," says Reinhard Pritzlaff, who is serving the General Engineering customers of Hydro's Rolled Products business area with technical expertise and service.

The plates have each been three-dimensionally shaped at Centraalstaal in the Netherlands and then were shipped to Oman.

The Sultanate Oman on the Corniche of the Persian Gulf has embarked on a huge master plan to turn its Muttrah agglomeration into a most modern metropolitan spot, based on 24 breath-taking building projects.

Gulf building boom may see more aluminium

The required excellence in architecture, realization and function make aluminium a likely material, and Oman's campaign is part of a boom in building and construction across the entire Gulf region. Snøhetta has been appointed to realize two of the Muttrah projects: the Fish Market for the Muscat governorate and the Vegetables Market.

Snøhetta is already a partner of Hydro in Powerhouse, a collaboration aiming to realize buildings that produce more energy than they consume. Currently, Powerhouse has two ongoing projects; one new office building in Trondheim, which will become the world's northernmost energy-positive building, and one existing building close to Oslo, which will be the world's first that is being renovated to produce more renewable energy than it uses.

Excellence in architecture, onto the materials chosen and the realization, open up for a lot of aluminium applications. "It is one of our target markets where we aim to win wider acceptance for our premium shate," says Evelyne Nguyen, sales director for Hydro's General Engineering business unit.

So far, shate is typically applied in the construction of silos and other industrial apparatuses, for big, yet light-weight components of commercial vehicles, of ships and, with more growth expected, of trains.

"Easy to form and then stable for a lifetime, aluminium shate, together with its brilliant surface qualities we offer, enables wide-swung, manifold concepts for outstanding visible architecture, at the least use of material resources," says Reinhard Pritzlaff. And after de-installation, the metal is fully and easily recycled.

Updated: October 11, 2016