Abu Dhabi International Airport

KPF architects, supported by Battle McCarthy on sustainability and landscape, won an international design competition for the prestigious new Abu Dhabi International Airport. In response to the brief the landscape design sought a balance between creating an attractive ‘green’ setting for the airport and minimising the need for irrigation in a region where water is a scarce asset.

Contained within the site boundary was a colony of legally protected Dhabs or Spiny-tailed Lizards Uromastyx aegyptia leptieni, a large herbivorous lizard of considerable conservation significance which were to be accommodated within the habitat creation proposals.

Biodiversity by Design was asked to assist in the development of the further design development brief for landscape and biodiversity for the airport. Advice included:

- Assessment of the likely role and requirements of the Environment Agency for Abu Dhabi (EAD) and other environmental organisations, such as the Emirates Natural History Group and the National Avian Research Centre;

- Direction towards the existing and emerging national and international best practice for ecological works;

- Advice on approaches to assess the feasibility of the ecological design and its compatibility with other constraints, such as air safety and the latest technologies for birdstrike hazard minimisation;

- Provision of examples of sustainable aquaculture in the Middle East linked to habitat creation;

- Clarification of the required steps in furthering proposals for creation/attraction and management of habitats and environmental education displays and information;

- Identification of the issues associated with maximising the success of translocation of endangered/important species including the Spiny-tailed Lizard.

Ultimate Client
The supervision Committee for the Abu Dhabi International Airport Expansion (SCADIA)

Proximate Client
Battle McCarthy

Design Team Leader


Landscape Architect
Battle McCarthy

Middle East & Africa

Site Area
Greater than 100 Hectares