Located in the Al Ain Unesco World Heritage Site, the Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa (BMBK) cultural project’s 2,840 m² exhibition area links the nation’s pre-oil history and heritage with the present day. The Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi selected ACCIONA to carry out the technical development and museographic implementation of the space.
BMBK is a cultural restoration project aiming to preserve and reimagine one of the few remaining examples of ‘Transition Period’ architecture – between the nation’s pre and post-oil eras.
Although the home has a traditional layout, it was built using concrete – an innovative material at that time. As a result, the house provides valuable insights into the changing building techniques and the urban development of Al Ain during the transition to modernity.
The house was built in 1958, near the Al Ain oasis, for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (1909-1979) and his fourth wife, their daughters and sons. The layout and functions of the house reflect the traditional family structure and social rules of the time, with the strict separation of public and private life.
An extensive conservation programme carried out by the Department of Culture and Tourism has seen the historic home repaired, restored and rehabilitated into a vibrant community centre.
ACCIONA Cultural Engineering, specialists in the design and implementation of projects for museums, expo pavilions, exhibitions, events and interiors, carried out the technical development and museographic implementation. The brief comprised seven exhibitions rooms: Discovery room; Period room; Building 1; Building 2; Conserving room; Honoring and Living rooms; in addition to exhibition displays in the courtyard.
The project couldn’t have been more varied, featuring glazing walls with archival images, models of the original house and subsequent modifications, set designs and ten audio-visual and multimedia productions.
The complex will house temporary exhibitions in addition to the permanent display. It will also facilitate creative and educational programmes, family activities in the RFLCT Arts Center and an onsite branch of Notes café, and make spaces available for hire by the public.