Centres for Traditional Music

Office Kersten Gears David Van Severen.

Dar Al Jinaa and Dar Al Riffa are two similar buildings, part of a project of urban renewal in Bahrain. The ambition is to give a public face to the ancient community of pearl fishers, and their musical and cultural traditions. Each project consists of both the renovation of an existing Dar (‘house’), and a new, added Majlis (‘collective room’).

The Majlis will be used as communal spaces for traditional music performances. Both buildings consist of a simple structure of round concrete columns and platforms. Rectangular folding glass facades, equipped with perforated wooden shutters, create intimate interior spaces on the platforms.

Stairs, sanitary boxes and technical installations populate the exterior platforms, forming the furniture which makes this simple structure functional. The entire building is covered by a seamless steel mesh, providing cover from the harsh desert sun, and transforming the buildings into enigmatic, ‘veiled’ objects, protruding from the dense Bahraini urban maze.

When the building is in use, the veil is lifted to allow passers-by a glimpse of the performances inside.

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