The Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati has designed a large-scale, colored concrete canopy titled ‘Pearling Site Museum and Entrance’. A project spanning 6700 square meters, the site acts as a gateway to the Pearling Path, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Muharraq, Bahrain.
The entire complex exists as a maze of concrete columns, functioning as the entrance to the cultural heritage site, and a foyer for the medina, as well as a building that acts as an indoor museum for the trail. The 2.2 mile Pearling Path is close to a cluster of historic market buildings on Muharraq Island, taking visitors past three oyster beds, a seashore site, and other architectural structures that are historically significant to the country’s pearling industry. The 10 meter high concrete canopy is supported by large columns made of concrete, with gaps between each that become pathways into the site. The canopy is punctured by geometric openings that cast shadows across the site, providing visitors with shade from the often oppressive heat. “It is an urban room for the people of Muharraq with the scale of a public park,” Olgiati has explained of the project. “As a totality, the building creates a universe in itself that is the entrance for the Pearling Path and the city beyond.”