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Feasability Study Image A
Visualització © Lukas Lenherr Architektur
Feasability Study Image B
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Feasability Study Image C
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Feasability Study Image D
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Pearl Dive

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Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Bahrain

Bab al Bahrain, Manama, 2012

Open Ideas Competition 1. Prize

The void. A physically powerful identity and a strong sense of a space are given to a place when it contains a clear void. It is the void that connects people. Furthermore it is the void that re-animates the historical link to the sea. It is this void that re-locate things as they were in past times. This void, the heart of the project, is a vast open space of water. Its size makes up the entire competition perimeter. The excavated soil can be used for new offshore landfill.

That void is accessible through divers activities like renting boats for sailing, paddling or artificial pearl diving. A tall water fountain (a present from the City of Geneva) is installed in the middle of the water to mark a centre of peace, a strong statement and maybe a reference to the pearl roundabout? A continuing promenade around the water invites people to enjoy this place. The promenade offers a variety of benches, gradients, stairs, ramps and also access to the water. Overall shadow is created with palm trees.

At the same time clear elements are animating the void and create large and small pocket spaces. These elements and their identity are symbolized programs that offer activities to a contemporary Arab society. The demanded programs of the competition have additional essential programs. This creates a fresh mix of new spaces which can react to diverse situations of an urban cosmopolitan place.

These elements and their obvious character of the famous fisherman’s huts are taken as reference to the historical use of the seafront, and at the same time, the water surface indicates the old seafront. However, it is not only a hint to the historical past but also one to the actual situation in- and offshore. Nevertheless, these new huts should not be seen poorly maintained and cheap; they all have a brand new and inventive design, incorporating the local Bahraini identity.

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