Acciona Cultural Engineering has completed work on the exhibition space at Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa (BMBK), a historic house located in the Unesco World Heritage site of Al Ain in the UAE.
Acciona Cultural Engineering, a unit of Spanish infrastructure major Acciona, specialises in the design and implementation of projects for museums, expo pavilions, exhibitions, events and interiors.
BMBK is a cultural restoration project that aims to preserve and rehabilitate this historic home into a vibrant community centre. It is one of few remaining examples of the architecture of the ‘Transition Period’, between 1960 and 1970.
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 family. 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.
Acciona says it was signed up by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi to carry out the technical development and museographic implementation of the 2,840-sq-m exhibition space.
An extensive conservation programme carried out by the department has seen the historic home repaired, restored and rehabilitated into a vibrant community centre, which is set to resume its function as a gathering place for the Al Ain community.
As per the deal, Acciona Cultural Engineering had carried out the technical development and museographic implementation of seven exhibitions rooms in addition to exhibition displays in the courtyard. These include glazing walls with archival images, artefacts, and showcases, models of the original house and subsequent modifications, set designs and ten audio-visual and multimedia productions.