feb 192014

A workshop in Sur.

Dok has made a beautiful trip through Oman. The immediate cause of this journey is a conceivable Maritime Museum to be realized in the authentic fishing-village Sur.
With great expectations 21 Dokkers take the first steps to explore Sur.

The city of Sur is one of the ancient Omani cities. As the capital city of the Ash Sharqiyah Region, it was an established centre for trade with India and East Africa.
Sur is the most famous shipbuilding city in the Persian Gulf. Its historical location gives it the hand to monitor the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. Most famous ships have been built here, like the sambuk and ghanjah.
Today Sur has retained its reputation as a major Dhow-building town, the very same vessels that were used for world-trade.

For the workshop 21 Dok architects divided Sur in five areas. Each team visits the area considering the following issues:
– what are the touristic qualities of this part of Sur?
– what can you expect visiting Sur for 2 hours?
– what can you expect visiting Sur for 2 days?

Dok is wandering, drawing, talking, analyzing, eating, sitting, walking, strolling, taking photographs, perceiving and relishing.
In the late afternoon we come together again. Sur is a delightfull city, but we depart to our next destination, the Wabi Shab Resort.
Here we put all our ideas, sketches, photographs and proposals on the table and listen to each survey of Sur. Gradually an overall picture is formed.

The current possible location for the Maritime History Museum has got everyting it takes; surrounded by a beautiful coastal strip, an authentic bay with its three watchtowers, a castle, a Dhow shipping warf, a bridge accesible for pedestrians connecting the 2 parts of Sur, lovely lanes to wander through, a lively souk within walking distance, a lighthouse with oceanview [and overlooking the new Maritime History Museum], warm-harted residents.

In order to optimize the conditions for tourists, in this beautiful coastal town, a few additions to the present offer can be made. Public venues, restaurants and tearooms, can be positioned at strategic locations. several adventureaus walks in the shade can be proposed. Increase the number of appealing small hotels and apartments within the existing town. Create and optimize attractive shady spots, for example trees provided with seats and benches.

The results of this workshop will be combined in a complete document with text and images.

In summary, the new Maritime History Museum in Sur is a major challenge we profoundly embrace.
With great pleasure we remember our beautiful trip in Oman with Sur in our minds and hearts.

feb 122014


Oman offers us a wide variety of landscapes in a rather small area.
While driving from the mountains the scenery gradually becomes flatter and dryer; Wahiba Sands arises. Our journey is a unique natural and cultural experience.

Really excited we arrive at the nomadic camp in time to run up the sanddunes for a beautiful sunset.
While gazing at the fire, under the desert stars, we share our feeling that we seem to be in Oman for a week already, considering all the wonderful things we’ve seen and done.

Waking up with desert sounds we get ready for a day trip. The colours of the massive dunes, range from red to gold as far as the eye can see. The animals are hidden but their tracks show us they exist.
We analyse the way the camels walk and try to imitate them, it is impressive how smooth and relaxed they move.
It’s very special to stroll in this immense environment, a place to clear your mind.
In the shadow of a tree an Omani meal is being prepared for us with care.
Completely satisfied we continue our walk, jumping and running of the dunes.

Full of energy and spirit we depart from the peaceful golden Sea of Sand and head for Sur.

feb 062014

On the edge

After visiting Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, we head in the direction of Nizwa to the village Al Hamra, surrounded by the beautiful Omani landscape of mountains and valleys. Omani guides are waiting for us at a local pomp station. Carefully we descend into the traditional village Misfat Al Abriyyin, known for his stunning cultural landscape. Walking through steep alleys, date tree terraces and along Falaj channels, we listen to the guides who tell us with pride about the way Omani live.
We repose our walk with a tasteful lunch in the village. Again we are touched by the care and peace of the plantation.

As happy as we were with the shadow the date palms gave us in Misfat Al Abriyyin, as shocked we are with the cold that comes upon us that night. Early in the morning we are still shaking at the breakfast table, but nevertheless stoked with energy and mentally preparing for todays mountain trip.
Starting with a quick mountain stage in the car, once off the car we walk straight on the edge of the mountain chain. A breathtaking view is with us all the time when we are hiking. The track is challenging for all of us, we help and accompany each other as a well-attuned Dok team.
After 8 hours of hiking everybody safely arrives at the cars and we drive back to the hotel for a well deserved meal.

The next morning we move on to the desert. We stop to visit the Jabreen Castle near Nizwa. Remarkable in the Castle is the simplicity and unifications of the spaces, the beautiful frescoes and inscriptions. There are many spectacular wide views and shady inner courts.

We are, within a couple of days, impressed by the rich cultural heritage, the wonderful landscape and above all the kindness, calmness and generosity of the Omani people.

feb 032014

The capital Muscat and the beauty of Oman

On Friday January 10th, eight o’clock in the morning, 21 Dok employees in great mood are waiting at Schiphol Airport. Destination: Oman. Unknown, far away and therefore very exciting. After six hours of being up in the air the views from the airplane already seem promising. The sunset is exceptionally beautiful and cities like Doha (Qatar) and Abu Dhabi (UAE) show themselves as if jewelry in the darkness. The first introduction to our companions for this week, five white Toyotas Land Cruiser, proceeds smoothly and after a nocturnal dinner we fall in our comfortable hotel beds.

The investigation of Islamic architecture takes off phenomenally on Saturday morning. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat with her eight tons weighing chandelier is more than impressive. The overwhelming size, the detail of the unlikely amount of decoration and the power of the use of only two tints of natural stone give the mosque a strong and timeless character. An army of polish machines keeps the terraces and plazas clean and tidy. While walking through this complete beauty and display we wonder if really every single decorative element is made by hand.
What a craftsmanship.

Six days later we continue our research on Muscat. The experiences of the past days will be written down in this blog in the next few weeks. Tanned, fresh and happy we visit the old part of the capital. However, old is not the right word to describe the situation. There are only a few historic fortresses among the modern government buildings. One of them is the colorful Al Alam palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. We try to explore the souq. That our attempt fails because in Oman Friday is comparable to our Sunday, doesn’t hurt us. We do are a bit nervous though, because we’re about to meet the undersecretary of heritage of the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture, His Excellency Salim Al Mahruqi. He pays attention to everyone of us. Every one of us shakes his hand and we are able to tell about our responsibilities at Dok architecten. The undersecretary jokes about him looking forward to us Dutch people spending our money in Oman. And of course we are looking forward to that too, because it would mean that our potential project of building a Maritime History Museum in Sur has become a great success.

By Joris, Herman, Jan Jaap en Anne Louise