Qasr Al Hosn: Al Musallah

Cebra with / for DCT Abu Dhabi


The Al Hosn site is a major reference point to the history of Abu Dhabi, telling the story of the city, its people, their history and modernity. It comprises two major iconic structures: Qasr Al Hosn (the oldest structure in Abu Dhabi, historic home of the ruling family and seat of government) and The Cultural Foundation (the emirate’s cultural centre, with library, theatre and exhibition spaces). Within the site-wide plan, the Musalla is designed to be a humble yet pivotal component of Al Hosn’s cultural and architectural ensemble. The brief for the master planning of the site was to ensure that the two major heritage buildings were conserved and protected for the appreciation of present and future generations. Their preservation should enable the understanding of their role in the development of Emirati society and their significance as anchors of traditional values. The concept not only aimed to conserve and restore building fabric but to also reinstate the context in which these buildings were historically set. This provides an immediate appreciation of Qasr Al Hosn’s relationship with the land and its vernacular origins, and The Cultural Foundation’s relationship with the modern city. The Musalla is a sculptural, terraform architecture which respectfully plays a subservient role to the aforementioned significant structures of Traditional and Modern heritage. It is designed to harmonise with the coastal desert landscape that has been reinstated around Abu Dhabi’s oldest building, to place Qasr Al Hosn once again in its proper context of a flat, sanded plain.

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