Sunday June 16th, 2024
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Bahrain’s Pearling Site Museum & Entrance by Valerio Olgiati

The site contains ruins that form part of the UNESCO Pearling Path.

Karim Abdullatif

Serving as a gateway to Bahrain’s historic pearling trail, the Pearling Site Museum & Entrance centre was designed by Italian architect Valerio Olgiati where residents can roam, gather, and find respite in the shade.

“The building functions as the entrance to the cultural heritage and the foyer for the medina,” Olgiati tells SceneHome. “It’s an urban room for the people of Muharraq with the scale of a public park.”

Set within a finely detailed environment, the open area offers a unique experience. Concrete elements are placed to align the property’s boundaries and form a new locus in the dense city. The result is a forest of concrete pillars that support a wide-span slab, dotted with pentagonal openings that hover above the ground.

“The forest of columns and wind towers hold a horizontal plate 10 metres above the ground,” Olgiati explains. “A roof, understood as an archaic gesture, donates vital shadows for the people of Muharraq in this very hot climate, and produces a new and unique situation through its different scale.”

Rising above Muharraq’s neighbouring buildings and rooftops, Olgiati’s brutalist concrete canopy adds a distinct architectural composition to the bustling urban fabric. At the entrance, an unassuming block contains a small heritage museum, while remnants of a bustling market that declined in the 1930s are displayed outside and shielded by the concrete.

Photography Credit: Paula Pintos

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