Qasr al Muwaiji Research Center and Museum


´╗┐The adaptive reuse and substantial addition to Qasr al Muwaiji (in association with landscape architect, Imad Gemayel Architecture), a historic fort and grounds within the city of Al Ain, is intended to serve as a comprehensive learning, research and exhibition facility that is committed to preserving and providing access to collections relating to Gulf history. The Centre will be dedicated to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates, who was born within the Fort.

Principal elements of the project include a permanent exhibition located within the refurbished fort that culminates in a tour of the original rooms of the historic Palace. The new structure is clad entirely in glass, offering unobstructed views of the grand Fort, and bearing lightly on its hallowed grounds.

The complex offers uninterrupted access to a vast garden set under the continuous canopy of the trees, and includes a range of amenities such as fountains, pedestrian plazas and shaded parking. The date palm grove itself is preserved as a working plantation, and is fed by an active and decorative falaj system to recall the traditional farming practice.

The as yet unimplemented second phase of the project includes a research centre to be built immediately outside the Fort, but contiguous to it, carefully integrated within the surrounding date palm grove. An open ground floor offers a seamless extension of the landscape, while an upper story with library, reading rooms, classrooms and offices is hidden within the canopy of the trees. A multi-use auditorium, cafe, bookstore, temporary exhibit space and archives is concealed underground in a lower story. The center of the complex is dominated by a dramatic three-story atrium that serves as a multi-use assembly space for outdoor activities year-round, and is embellished with vertically planted walls, a shade canopy and a wood deck suspended over a reflecting pool. This space, on axis with the Fort Palace, is anchored at the opposite end by a full-height glass tower that houses research archive materials.

Read More:
The Ideas and Architecture of Qasr al Muwaiji, Project Interview
Qasr Al Muwaiji, Concept to Construction
Greening an Oasis, Project Story

Year: 2011
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority
Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Award for Architectural Design: Heritage Architecture Category

The American Architecture Prize

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