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  • Writer's pictureBelarmino Cordero

Qasr Al Hosn Fort: A New Benchmark for Restoration in the Middle East

Updated: May 18, 2021

Following ten years of restoration, the Qasr Al Hosn Fort in Abu Dhabi reopened last year to the public as a museum. The RIBA organised then a visit in which Mark Kyffin and Gary Dicken shared precious insights into the intricacy and detail of the restoration works.

I was blown away by the depth of thought that has gone into every single aspect and into the overall coordination. In my view this project should be taken as a benchmark for multidisciplinary restoration in the region – credit to The Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi, BDP and Arup. Starting by a profound understanding of its history, traditional construction materials and assemblies, structure, ventilation strategy, etc. the restoration works accommodate new functionality to contemporary comfort and safety standards in an exercise of sensitivity and balance that preserves the essence of the original building.

I have had a passion for restoration from my first working experience as an intern at Lavila Arquitectos, where I was involved in the restoration of a historic chapel in Spain, and through my post-graduate studies where I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge on building diagnosis and theory of restoration. This fascinating specialty requires a broad skill set, extensive knowledge, architectural sensitivity and creativity to reinvent constructive solutions that use modern technologies while respecting the essence of the original. It is also critical to be able to work as part of a multidisciplinary team that shares a common vision and develops solutions together through open dialogue.

In a region that is dominated by modern construction, a project that looks back on history and heritage is a breath of fresh air and well worth a visit.

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