Page 1

Recreating

the

Old

to

Construct (a The Case

of

new)

Heritage:

Al Wakrah, Qatar


Interactive Museums Conference CLICO Centre for Teaching Excellence University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados August 2012 Short description: A description of the efforts of Qatar to use its new wealth in order to reconstruct its almost destroyed heritage by turning an old fishing village into an interactive museum. Abstract: One can no longer visit the old pearling village of Wakrah, but only a re-created memory of Wakrah, the distinct Bedouin desert dwellings. Once the wealth of the inhabitants grew, they wiped it clean into sea. And yet, the current descendants feel that their modern city is not to their satisfaction, and they yearn for the memories of the old village. A pocket of the modern city was destroyed and in its place a recreation of what some residents remember was put in its place: an empty artifact of a village, containing no accuracy, only the selective memories of a few. Al Wakrah is one of many villages that with the discovery of natural gas and oil in the Middle East were neglected and destroyed to make way for “modern� buildings. After embracing Western modernization, Middle-Eastern communities are now discovering that they neglected to preserve their own heritage, both tangible and intangible. So they recreate heritage from scratch, leaving no authenticity. This presentation will describe a design for the reconstructed village of Wakrah to become a museum containing the ruins of the village, like a jewel, protected by a majestic case making a clear mark within the fabric of the city from land and sea. Within this case, only pieces of the village remain, for it is not the individual buildings that are to be remembered, but the critical combination of nostalgia and imagination. Even those who never knew the old Wakrah, will know of the old village they come from, and in the remaining arcades and courtyards see their younger selves playing in the sand, surrounded by their families. More than this, the museum exhibits the history of Wakrah, of pearling, through hologram projections that dance within the ruins and are constantly in flux, much like the memories of the visitors.

1


The Third International Conference on the Constructed Environment University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada October 2012 Short description: A presentation on the effect of entirely reconstructed historical buildings in a contemporary urban fabric in an effort to preserve heritage in Middle Eastern countries that came into wealth suddenly. Abstract: Al Wakrah is a pearling village which was torn down in the 1970s and has been entirely rebuilt in the last 3 years by decree of the Emir of the State of Qatar. Unfortunately, it is currently a vacant town within the larger urban fabric of modern Wakrah. The question facing architects and designers is how to incorporate this reconstructed piece of history into the modern city‌ Al Wakrah is one of many villages that with the discovery of natural gas and oil in the Middle East were neglected and destroyed to make way for “modernâ€? buildings. American and European architects and planners were asked to build their modern cities, which led to a severe lack of sensitivity to real heritage. Having brought Western architecture and planning into their cities, Middle-Eastern communities are discovering that they neglected to preserve their own heritage, both tangible and intangible. Now cities such as Al Wakrah are struggling to find a true way to preserve their heritage in their built environment. So they reconstruct their heritage from scratch, leaving no authenticity. In this case, a pocket of the modern city was destroyed and in its place a recreation of what some residents remember was put in its place: an empty artifact of a village, containing no accuracy, only the selective memories of a few. This presentation will describe how a group of architecture students and faculty of Carnegie Mellon University engaged with the Qatar Museum Authority in a semester-long project to redesign AlWakrah into a living museum, where the glory of the old pearling village and the distinct Bedouin desert dwellings are recreated in an attempt to bring back the lost heritage.

2


QataR

and the

gulf RegiOn

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian Location Qatar is a small country bordering Saudi Arabia, a peninsula jutting out into the gulf coast.

3

Carnegie Mellon University


QataR aRea: 11586

km2

POPulatiOn: 1,951,591 QataRi: 250,000 ex-PatRiOts: 1,700,000 gdP PeR caPita: $ 69,754.6 caPital: dOha Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

Demographics The capital city, and one of only a handful of cities in the whole country is Doha, or Dawha. The demographics demonstrate the large discrepancy between the local Qatari population to the foreign expatriot population. The GPD (information as of 2010) is one of the highest in the world. This is due to the very large reserve of natural gas that Qatar has tapped into located off of it’s coast.

4


QataR: dOha 1983

histORical images

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Of

QataR

Carnegie Mellon University

Rapid Growth The country gained an enormous amount of wealth very quickly, and as a result they began to develop a large amount of infrastructure to position themselves as a globally recognized nation, much in the way the UAE had done a few years earlier.

5


QataR: dOha 2008

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

Modern Day Doha poised itself to be an internationally recognized city by building skyscrapers, developing the coastline, and a variety of luxury housing to draw major international companies to the country. Their neighbor, the UAE, aimed to make Dubai the “wall street” of the middle east, and the Qatari Emir had similar hopes for Doha, but with a slightly different focus. Qatar is a more conservative nation than the UAE, and the Emir’s Wife pushed to make Doha the Cultural and Educational capital of the middle east. In order to do this a number of world-class museums were build as well as a world-class consortium of college buildings named “Education City.” Universities such as Texas A&M, Northwester, VCU, Carnegie Mellon and the Cornell Medical School were invited and agreed to have a campus in Education City. Extensive investments were made to make Doha the cultural and educational capital of the middle east, and the Al Wakrah project I was a part of is closely tied to these efforts.

6


al wakRah

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

Al Wakrah Al Wakrah was a small pearling and finishing village, a half hours drive south of the capital city, Doha. The highlighted area is the original Bedouin village that has grown from the bay into a contemporary city. With the discovery of natural gas in Qatar there was money to develop the city and the old village was left by the residents for more modern housing. The old Bedouin homes were empty and the Al Wakrah residents were concerned about having the empty homes in town so they were bulldozed into gulf. The shallow shoreline is the result of the bulldozed homes into the water.

7


QataR: cOntemPORaRy al wakRah Industry Apar tmant buildings Wide roads

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

Context With industrialization growing in Qatar more people were wealthy enough to build and buy larger houses and apartments with air conditioning and other amenities. With the new technologies that were available the Bedouin homes became outdated.

8


QataR: cOntemPORaRy al wakRah Industry Apar tmant buildings Wide roads Limitted public space

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

Context The industrialization and modernization brought apartment buildings, parking structures, and very wide roads. There wasn’t any focus on creating community or public spaces with the exception of the mosques and market places.

9


al wakRah Village Bedouin cour tyard houses

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

The Village During all the modernization the village was destroyed and forgotten, other commercial and residential buildings were constructed on top of the old foundations of the village, but some sections were left exposed.

10


al wakRah Village Direct connection to the gulf

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

Rebuilding the Village A Qatari artist named Muhammad Ali found out about the remaining foundations of the old village in Al Wakrah and approached the Emir to get funding to re-build the city. With the new efforts to make Qatar a cultural and educational hub, having “authentic� Bedouin architecture seemed like a good idea so the project was approved. Muhammad put together plans to reconstruct a part of the village that did not have newer buildings constructed on it already and the foundations of the original homes were still visible enough to create an educated estimate of what the original home may have looked like.

11


a wakRah OldSITE Village : RaPid deVelOPment ALlWAKRAH VILLAGE TIME LAPSE 2004-2010

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

2004

2005

2006

2008

2009

2010 Carnegie Mellon University 0

400 meters

800

Repairing the Coastline As part of the reconstruction process, Muhammad Ali also got funding to dredge up the coastline to what it had originally been when the pearling village existed. These Google earth images show the progression of the dredging process from 2004 to 2010, where it is visible that the whole coastline is changed. It is important to note that the dock on the south was constructed after the village was torn down, and contributes to the collection of sea bed along the dock. When the coastline is dredged up it will slowly begin to collect again along the dock and will periodically need to be dredged up again to retain the coastline.

12


al wakRah Village

150

km2

600 meteRs OVeR 200 indiVidual Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

lOng

hOmes

Carnegie Mellon University

The Village The project began with a few houses and quickly grew to over 200 individual homes and over 600 meters along the coastline. The average home has 4-5 rooms that are arranged around a courtyard. These homes were constructed based on the remaining foundations from where the original village was combined with research of similar villages around the gulf coast. There were no remaining images or plans from this particular village to base the construction off of, only the artist’s best educated guess.

13


al wakRah

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

The Project When the four Carnegie Mellon students were approached but the Qatar Museum’s Authority about this project, the village was almost completely constructed. The village was reconstructed with no clear concept of what it would be used for, how these buildings would be used. The students were tasked with taking the existing constructed village and creating a master plan for it’s use, as well as designing additional structures if necessary to make the program feasible.

14


al wakRah: the masteR Plan

Carnegie Mellon University

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian The Master Plan Concept

1:1000

The students researched the city of Al Wakrah as well as how other countries demonstrate their heritage and created a master plan. The northern most side of the village was to be a collection of boutique hotels, from the road all the way to the coastline, Next to the hotels is the Al Wakrah pearling museum, the section of the master plan Lito was charged with. In the center of the village there is student housing, and shops and restaurants along the coastline. On the southern side the master plan called for a vocational school which teaches original crafting techniques. Lastly a restaurant that brings the water form the gulf all the way into the main land for an on-the-water experience. The entrance of the village, and the museum, is along the main road on the west side, where the parking also located.

15


AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM / NEW ENCASEDOLD RUINS museum: Old/new Process: Walls from the existing buildings will be removed and only permeable walls such as colonnades will be retained. These are what I refer to as the “Ruins� of Wakrah, which will give visitors a glimpse into the arrangement of the buildings in the original village. These ruins are encased in a new facade and roof creating the outter walls of the museum. The museum not only contains the selected artifacts but the village of Wakrah as well.

Roof

Existing Walls

1:2000

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Retained Walls

New Structure

Carnegie Mellon University

The Museum Concept The main challenge of creating a world-class museum in this Bedouin village was how to fit exhibition spaces into 3 by 5 meter rooms. This was not possible, so the concept Lito created was to only retain certain kinds of walls that would give the visitor to the museum an understanding of what the original village might have been like. The walls that were kept were the walls with opening for windows and doorways, and the colonnaded walls that line the courtyards of the houses. These colonnades are then enclosed by a glass exterior and a series of overlapping roof leaves to create a conditioned space for the offices, support spaces and exhibit spaces.

16


WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM PERSPECTIVE

PeaRling museum

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

The Museum Concept The museum visitors can explore the exhibits through the colonnades, where the different exhibits reveal and conceal themselves between the columns and openings. This is an effect that Lito first saw at the new Acropolis Museum by Bernard Tschumi and drew inspiration from in the layout of the Al Wakrah Pearling Museum.

17


al wakRah: the PeaRling museum

Carnegie Mellon University

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian The Museum Concept

1:1000

The museum in located on the coastline, covered by one large roof structure encompassing the remains of dozens of reconstructed walls inside.

18


AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM CONDITIONED SPACE DIAGRAM ROOf Plan

0 5 10

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

20

40

80 meters

Carnegie Mellon University 0m

The Museum Concept The roof is a gridded systems where each tile can have a different material quality to allow a different angle of light or amount of light into the space. This allows the entire museum to be encompassed in one structure, but each exhibit space to be controlled individually. The lighter squares in the plan above indicate areas where less light is allowed through, and the gray areas are where some more daylight is allowed to pass. In many cases, the area where the roof overhangs outside of the conditioned museum perimeter is a more light-permeable roof.

19

10m

20m


AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM CONDITIONED SPACE DIAGRAM eAL nclOsed sPace and cOuRtyaRds WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM CONDITIONED SPACE DIAGRAM

0 5 10

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

20

40

80 meters

0 5 10 20 40 University 80 meters Carnegie Mellon

The Museum Concept The museum enclosure hugs the original houses’ walls, creating an enclosed conditioned space. In the diagram above the gray areas are the completely enclosed conditioned areas of the museum and the dotted line is the perimeter of the roof. The roof extends outside of the conditioned area to protect from the harsh desert sun, which is critical for half the year from April to October. Upon entering the museum the visitors’ path will take them outdoors two time, very briefly, and these instances occur at the entry points to the main central courtyard.

20


AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM LAND USE DIAGRAM PROgRam Program Key Offices/Workshops Commercial Religious

Storage

Galleries

A4

Storage

A6

A3

Education

Workshop

A5

B6

Public Security/Storage

Strong Room

A2

B5

A7 Workshop

Library A1

A8

Curator Offices B4

Educational Spaces

Museum Entrance Site Entrance B3

B1

B2

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

A9

Museum Store

Security

Golf Cart Parking Lecture Hall

VVIP Majlis

Golf Cart Parking

B7

Historical Point of Entry

Museum CafĂŠ

Gallery Key A1 Natural History of Pearl Exhibit A2 Pearl Fishing and Diving Exhibit A3 Pearl Merchant Exhibit A4 Pearl in History Exhibit A5 Mother of Pearl Exhibit A6 Cultured Pearl Exhibit A7 Temporary Gallery A8 Pearling Boat Exhibit A9 The Jewel Haritage House Key B1 Al Khater House B2 Al Khater Mosque B3 Al Thani Amara B4 Majid Bin Saad House B5 Rashid Bin Saad House B6 Al Saad Mosque and Majlis B7 Al Saad Amara

0 5 10 Mellon 20 40University 80 meters Carnegie

The Museum Concept The arrangement of the program is very carefully laid out to ensure that vehicles have access to the necessary spaces, and that museum staff can reach their work spaces without having to interfere with regular guest traffic. The public areas are by the entry point of the village, as well as all security and major storage facilities, and the commercial areas are by the coastline, where people can shop and grab some food after their tour of the museum. The exhibit spaces are arranged so that a very clear procession and narrative can be told.

21


AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM CONDITIONED SPACE DIAGRAM cALiRculatiOn diagRam WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM PUBLIC/PRIVATE DIAGRAM

Public Circulation Private Circulation Service Circulation Public Semi-Public Private Undefined

0 5 10

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

20

40

80 meters

0 5 10 Mellon 20 40University 80 meters Carnegie

The Museum Concept The public museum spaces are indicated in orange, the private spaces in green, and the undefined utility space are in gray. It was extremely important that vehicles be able to access storage spaces and exhibit spaces to bring in the necessary furniture, artwork, and equipment for the museum. The old road that could be made wide enough to bring vehicular traffic is the road to the north, indicated by the service circulation paths. The orange paths are the potential paths of museum visitors. The spaces are designed intentionally to allow visitors to take multiple paths through the village to get to the coastline, whether they would like to go straight through the courtyard or take their time walking through the exhibit halls.

222


P aRtial museum Plan AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM PLAN AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM PLAN ENTRY

aa

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian The Museum Concept

Carnegie Mellon University 0m

2m

4m

6m

8m

10m

0 5 10 20

40

Above is pictured the museum entry along with the first exhibition space. The original houses and their courtyards can be made out even through the entire space is permeable to pedestrian traffic. What used to be the courtyards are delineated by a 6� raised platform. The light gray lines indicate where the walls used to be that are torn down to open up the exhibition spaces. The Qatar Museums Authority also provided Lito with a sequence of exhibition arrangements that they requested be incorporated into the plan of the museum. The furniture pictured in these spaces and the sequence of the exhibitions is arranged according to the prescriptions made by the Qatar Museums Authority.

23

80 meters


WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM SECTION AA sALectiOns

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

The Museum Concept In the sections above can be seen the interactions between the different roof planes and the scale of the Bedouin village walls to the new museum structure. Juxtaposed against the thin columns that hold up the roof in a strict grid, the Bedouin walls’ thickness and organic form is highlighted and put on display for the museum visitors.

24


AL WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM MECHANICAL SYSTEMS PassiVe systems 1 Skylights allow light into the gallery

spaces. The opacity of the glass controls the quality of light in the space.

2 Sand is collected by the roof to be

cleaned easily.

1 3 Mechanized pulleys and cables

2

control the height of the roof fabric to allow flexibility in the space.

3 4

4 Operable louvres allow breeze intake to

pull the heated air out of the building and cool the roof in the summer.

5

6

5 ETFE membrane allows visible light

through while protecting from UV light reaching the exhibits. It is fireproof and porous in selective areas to allow warm air to travel through upward.

6 Intake for 7

Air-conditioning

7 Air is cooled in the courtyard plenums

through radiant cooling.

0m

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

1m

2m

3m

4m

Carnegie Mellon University

The Museum Concept The roof system and museum enclosure is also designed to facilitate natural cooling and ventilation and indirect sunlight penetration into the space. The thick Bedouin walls located neat the glass walls absorb most of the heat, as they were designed to do, and openings at the roof and exterior wall connection allow the hot air to escape. The roof is also designed to collect sand, which is often traveling through the air with the wind, and be easily cleaned away by the staff. By having a place for the sand to collect and vertical skylights, it allows for the skylights to have minimal blocking by the sand collection and access to indirect light, rather than direct sun rays.

25

5m


initial cOncePt

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

The Museum Concept It was an enormous challenge to propose a museum program arrangement and architectural style in a country and culture Lito was not familiar with. From language, to culture, to religion, to history, and even climate, it was extremely important to be well researched to ensure a sensitive and educated design.

26


WAKRAH VILLAGE MUSEUM PERSPECTIVE

final cOncePt

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian

Carnegie Mellon University

The Museum Concept By the end of the project Lito had not only completed a project that the Qatar Museums Authority had great reviews of, but was also able apply to multiple conferences or heritage and the constructed environment to present about architecture and heritage in the region. This work was challenging in ways that no other studio course had been before, and it asked questions that were much more profound than had ever been asked before.

27


cultuRe

in the

Built enViROnment

What is an appropriate architectural response when a culture tares down their own culturally significant architecture?

Are the re-constructed buildings to be treated as true representations of the culture? How can the built environment respond to such a range of cultures and even classes?

Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian The Critical Questions

Carnegie Mellon University

This case study is particularly interesting because it raises deep questions about the role of architecture in heritage, preserving it and recreating it. This case study is intended to inform the audience about situations that have arisen, propose a possible response, but most importantly evoke discussion about the topic. There is a still a lot that needs to be studied and understood, but if we can begin to consider the depth of impact architectural responses have to heritage we can ask the right questions, and slowly come up with better and better answers.

28


Al Wakrah Book  

by Lito Karatsoli-Chanikian at litokc.com