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The Green Planet

Grout McTavish Architects

Shared By

Symone Garvett

Project Name

The Green Planet


Project Status


Year Completed



60,000 sq. feet


Meraas Holdings


  • Clive Grout (Principal)
  • Brad McTavish (Principal)
  • Alex McCumber
  • John Jones
  • Andrew Carruthers
  • Toshi Suzuki
  • Kahn Tran
  • Michelle Ventresca


  • Mechanical Engineer: Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
  • Other: Gallagher and Associates
  • Other: Studio Hansen Roberts
  • Other: Jim Peterson Design Associates
  • Other: Ted Maranda & Associates
  • Other: Rob Halpern
  • Interior and Lighting Designer: CD+M Lighting Design Group, LLC

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Project Description


The Green Planet Dubai is an immersive science center based on the Equatorial Rainforest’s of the world. The architecture is based on a fragile origami cube that shields and protects a living biome within the shape of a cylinder. The exterior cube houses the support spaces required to sustain a living environment designed to accommodate over 3,000 species of tropical plants, mammals, insects and fish within the desert setting of Dubai.

Its mandate is to provide the people of Dubai an opportunity to experience and gain a deeper understanding of the fragile ecosystem of the Equatorial regions and how these regions of the world need to be protected for our sustainable future.

The concept for the visitor experience was developed to show how the various species that inhabit the rainforest can be found in the vertical zones of a Kapok tree; from it flooded river bank setting to its upper canopy.

Visitors enter The Green Planet at grade level and begin their journey through a flooded rainforest river, containing an aquarium and grotto with fresh water fish, set within eroded riverbanks of the Amazon, containing ferns and mosses from the region to gain insight into the foundation of the Kapok trees emergence within the Rainforest and how the river is the progenitor for the evolution of co-dependent species above.

Upon the completion of this immersive aquarium experience, visitors ascend to the upper reaches of the Building via high speed lifts to emerge at the upper branches of the Kapok tree where they descend down a series of spiral ramps around, and within the biome, to discover the varied habitats of tropical rain forest, from the butterflies and birds within the canopy of the tree, to the snakes and leaf cutter ants on the rainforest floor. Upon the completion of their visit, guests then cross over the river they began their journey and descend down to grade via escalators to the Visitor Centre and lobby.

In addition to accommodating 750,000 annual visitors, The Green Planet was designed to include an educational learning center with laboratories and classrooms where students attend class and conduct experiments both in class and within the Biome in order to gain a deeper understanding of the Biological Sciences and habitat preservation. These Ministry of Education approved studies have been developed in conjunction with the Centre to foster conservation efforts in the Rain Forest Regions of the World.

The project required the assembly of a worldwide team of specialist engineers, scientist and animal husbandry experts under guidance of Grout McTavish Architects to create an authentic Rainforest in an extreme dessert setting that is Dubai. This required the team to pay particular attention to the essentials for life: sun, water and soil and how the environment we were creating would survive and thrive within the desert. This unique mandate afforded us the rare opportunity to study and develop very advanced engineering and architectural systems that we are now looking to apply to future projects such as water conservation.
With water being a precious resource in Dubai the building was developed as a living machine able to sustain itself while providing a constant tropical environment able to support its inhabitant in an outside environment that can experience daily temperatures reaching 52c. With little available local resources the building was designed to limit its impact on the available services of the municipality and features advanced life support and filtration systems, passive humidification of the biome and harvesting condensate, grey and irrigation water in order to support and recycle water for use within the facility and the rainforest environment.
Completed in 2016 Green Planet Dubai has emerged as the top education-based visitor attraction within Dubai providing an immersive and educational experience on the fragile Ecosystem of the World’s rainforest and fulfilling it mandate to inspire the youth of Dubai to be better engaged in supporting and encouraging a more sustainable future.
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