House for Architectural Heritage

Leopold Banchini Architects and  Noura Al Sayeh
2017

The house for Architectural Heritage houses the archival collection of sketches and drawings by the architect John Yarwood, as well as serving as an exhibition space for architecture exhibition.

The project is conceived as a beam structure that frames the existing adjacent walls of the two neighboring buildings, serving as a showcase for the architectural heritage of the city, the old as well as the new.

The building is an intrinsic expression of the urban condition of the plot, offering an x-ray view into the urban form of the city and revealing the different phases of construction that the city has witnessed.

The two main facades contain two sliding doors that can be lifted within the height of the beam, opening the exhibition space to the streets, and transforming the building into a public passage. The exhibition space becomes one with the street encouraging more public participation.

The project addresses through its architectural conception the challenges of creating cultural spaces that hold a more participatory approach to local communities. By providing a space that can be completely opened on to the streets, in a neighborhood that houses communities that often feel excluded, the project attempts to provide a new exhibition typology.

By carefully inserting itself within a tight urban fabric, conserving the “found” state of the inner walls, the project freezes an urban condition that is often transient within the fast pace of development in the city.

The building is built in reinforced concrete, with a beam that spans the 26m width of the plot, linking both sides of the street. The reinforced concrete is juxtaposed to the other building materials of the city, coral stone, coral stone rubble and block work

The concrete structure is thermally insulated, while the internal space is shielded from direct sunlight, considerably reducing the need for cooling.

About the Designer – Leopold Banchini Architects:

a multidisciplinary research team exploring the frontiers of space shaping. Deliberately ignoring borders and embracing globality, it aims to expend the traditional definitions of project making using DIY culture and eclecticism as means of emancipation. Deeply rooted in architectural history, it is interested as well in contemporary popular cultures as in vernacular traditions and crafts. Addressing architecture as a form of social action, it places political and environmental considerations at the very heart of its practice.

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