bahrain 'house of architectural heritage' exhibits neighboring buildings' ancient construction

bahrain 'house of architectural heritage' exhibits neighboring buildings' ancient construction

swiss architecture firm leopold banchini partners with noura al-sayeh of the bahrain authority for culture and antiquities (BACA) in the design of bahrain’s ‘house of architectural heritage.’ the project serves as an exhibition and archival space, showcasing the area’s architectural ancestry through the exposition of the neighboring heritage buildings. the narrow concrete structure is opened along each long axis to frame the exterior walls of the existing adjacent buildings, exhibiting the ancient construction in detail as a museum piece.

leopold banchini bahrain
all images by dylan perrenoud



together with noura al-sayeh, leopold banchini architects conceived the building as an expression of the urban condition of the site. offering an x-ray view into the anatomy of the city, revealing the many layers of the area’s history. the two street-facing entrances feature sliding doors which transforming the building into a public corridor. the exhibition space becomes an extension of the street, encouraging pedestrian engagement. through this architectural conception, the project address the challenges of creating cultural spaces that hold a more participatory approach in a neighborhood that houses communities that often feel excluded.

leopold banchini bahrain



by conserving the ‘found’ state of the adjacent walls, the project freezes an urban condition that is often impermanent within the developing city. the building is conceived in reinforced concrete, with a beam spanning the 26m width of the plot, linking both sides of the street. the reinforced concrete offers an austere contrast to the rustication of its surroundings, with such materials as coral stone rubble and block work. the concrete structure is thermally insulated while the interior is shielded from direct sunlight, considerably reducing the need for active cooling systems.

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project info:


project name: house of architectural heritage

architects: noura al sayeh and leopold banchini architects

location: muharraq, kingdom of bahrain.

program: exhibition space

site area: 209sm

completed date: 2017

client: sh. ebrahim centre for culture & research.

photography: dylan perrenoud

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