Since work began in 2011, the Bahrain Pearling Path has dazzled visitors, and has even been made a UNESCO World Heritage site.
And now the top tourist attraction has been handed an architecture award, with judges saying they were impressed with the project’s preservation of sites and new buildings that respect the historic environment.
The Authority for Culture & Antiquities Conservation Department in Manama were chosen alongside five others as winners of the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
The group, which includes projects in Bangladesh, Russia and the UAE, will split $1 million between them – meaning the department will receive BHD63,000.
This is the first time the Kingdom has won the award, which is handed out every three years.
It was established by Aga Khan in 1977 and hopes to “identify and encourage building concepts that successfully addressed the needs and aspirations of communities in which Muslims have a significant presence”.
Writing about the project, the judges wrote: “The new buildings respect the historic environment’s scale and street lines while making bold contemporary architectural statements.
“The Pearling Path Visitor and Experience Centre and the House of Architectural Heritage adopt a Brutalist aesthetic, the former’s forms echoing the wind towers and coral blocks of traditional neighbouring structures; the Archaeologies of Green pavilion features a series of interlinking gardens containing indigenous plants; and the Dar Al Jinaa Centre for Traditional Music is inventively cloaked in chain mail, shielding against solar glare while allowing a constant breeze.”