Project's Summary

Barjeel Museum For Modern Arab Art: A Fortress-Like Structure for Immersive Experience

In the semi-industrial area on the outskirts of Sharjah, a low-rise monolithic structure stands tall, covering the entire footprint of the plot. The Barjeel Museum For Modern Arab Art, designed by AIDIA STUDIO, was envisioned as an introverted complex resembling a fortress, with a solid appearance that reflects its surroundings. The museum is not designed as an architectural object, but as a porous mass meticulously carved to create courtyards, alleys and passages that intertwine with the galleries and the rest of the programme. The result is an immersive experience for the visitor, allowing them to subtract themselves from reality.

Galleries Organized as a Circuit for Gradual Experience

The galleries in the Barjeel Museum are organized as a circuit that unfolds around the internal courtyards of the museum. The journey is intended to be experienced gradually, with the galleries laid out below street level to shield the artwork from sun exposure and thermal gains and to control the amount of natural light coming in. Filtered light is, however, purposefully introduced in the transition spaces between galleries, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of the shaded exterior courtyards, water features, and the base of the wind towers.

Barjeel Wind Towers: A Contemporary Sculpture for Cooling and Aesthetics

In honor of the foundation's name, AIDIA STUDIO decided to reinterpret the traditional wind tower typology, reshaping it into a contemporary sculpture that not only serves as a cooling device but also adds value to the space. The Barjeel Wind Towers work in tandem with the roof structure within the five courtyards of the museum. This way, all outdoor spaces benefit from the effects of the wind enhanced by the water evaporation from the pools. The wind towers' purpose is not only functional but also aesthetic, adding to the overall experience of the museum.

Complex Roof Canopy Inspired by Arabic Architecture and Weaving Traditions

The complex geometry of the roof shading canopy contrasts with the simple forms of the museum, creating a striking gesture that reflects the cultural heritage of the region. The geometry is inspired by the complex motifs of Arabic architecture and ancient Emirati weaving traditions. The soft curvature of the funnels is made out of steam-bent wood, another Emirati tradition well known in the shipbuilding industry. Apart from shading the courtyards, cooling down the atmosphere, and refracting sunlight, the roof's purpose is to showcase the interweaving layers of wood, which can be fully experienced from the rooftop promenade.

In conclusion, the Barjeel Museum For Modern Arab Art is a unique and immersive experience, showcasing contemporary art within an architectural masterpiece. AIDIA STUDIO's design reflects the cultural heritage of the region while also serving a functional purpose. From the galleries organized as a circuit to the Barjeel Wind Towers and the complex roof canopy, every element of the museum has been meticulously crafted to create an unforgettable experience for visitors.

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