Architecture can create intimate relationships with its context and a unique dialogue with art and craftsmanship. This is the case with 35 Green Corner Building, designed by Anne Holtrop in Muharraq, Bahrain, which serves as a warehouse and archive for an art collection.
The structure is characterised by large blocks of reinforced concrete, which are both the image and the substance of the project, as they also have a structural function. Each piece of concrete is made from casts of the ground around the project area, becoming the story of a specific moment and space in the context.
“Every slight and unpredictable variation in each piece is the record of a time, or rather a process of making, that we wanted to make visible. This choice was aimed at founding a new vernacular, in the name of an expressiveness that can reinterpret the typical building materials of Bahrain – coral stone and limestone – in a contemporary key,” says the architect.
A similar process was used for aluminium doors and windows, but conducted in a foundry. Aluminium is an essential material in Bahrain's industrial history, and was the subject of research the studio conducted with photographer Armin Linke for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale: “Places of Production – Aluminium”.
The creation of large reinforced concrete moulds has more than just aesthetic or narrative reasons. In an interview with NR Magazine, the Dutch architect explains: “It was also very efficient, so in that sense it contributes to an idea of sustainability because most of the form work is just in the sand, in the ground that is already there. We didn’t have to transport building materials, just the concrete. I think up to 50% of the energy [to build] is used in making form work, and the other 50% to cast it. So, by shortcutting that first 50% of formwork, we reduced the energy consumption used to make a building.”
- 35 Green Corner Building
- Muharraq, Bahrain
- Studio Anne Holtrop
- Local engineer:
- Ismail Khonji Associates
- Structural engineering:
- Mario Monotti
- Art Foundry Kemner