This case study is part of the essay String of pearls: preserving cultural heritage in Bahrain, featured in AR May 2020 on Tourism. Click here to read the full article
The inflexible, rectangular boundary wall protects and conceals a world of soft curves and indigenous plants. Commissioned by BACA and initially designed and built for the Milan Expo in 2015 as the National Pavilion of Bahrain, it was shipped back home in 2018 to become one of the new cultural venues for the Muharraq community.
Following the Bahraini tradition of enclosed gardens, the pavilion explores the relationship between culture and agriculture. Its form was born out of a set of drawings inspired by local archaeological remains. Fragments of walls suffice to structure the space and suggest the way forward, offering framed views and glimpses into the gardens of fruit-bearing trees. The route softly unfolds with each step and the water drains in the slits. Bahraini dishes are served in the café and ancient tools and artefacts are on display but, as was the case at Fort Vechten (AR January 2016), the building itself becomes the garden, the atmosphere and the exhibit. Designed as a temporary structure in Italy, it was adjusted slightly to become a permanent building in Bahrain, with brass fittings joining together the prefabricated concrete elements.
A small viewing platform oversees the pavilion’s roof: the plan becomes readable from above. Transplanted to the tight-knit urban fabric of Muharraq, the pavilion is a secluded oasis of quiet, a world within a world, an escape from the everyday.
bahrain green pavilion architectural review drawings2
This piece is featured in the AR May 2020 issue on Tourism – click here to buy your copy today