Bahrain: Cultural Master Plan.
For the academic year 2009-10, the lapa design studio focused on the Persian Gulf Nation of Bahrain. Our mandate was to apply the lapa studio methodology in a new manner; rather than creating an urban constitution based on the architectural context, lapa has been asked to create a “Cultural Master Plan” – a set of guiding ideas and strategies for augmenting the role of culture in the urban and social context of Bahrain.
The goals of the studio remained the same as with previous years; to analyze the current situation and to propose design solutions for improving the urban fabric and quality of life. In this year, however, the work was done with a focus on cultural issues; attempting to engage new stratagies that benefit the local and national cultural context.
In the autumn semester the students worked on the urban scale and analysis. The main issues were to understand this different culture, and to map out the different relationships between culture and economics, environmental issues, tourism, and urban social issues. The result of this work was a “Cultural Master Plan” and Urban Constitution for Bahrain.
In the spring semester students shifted scales, and worked at the level of architectural interventions. There were a wide range of developed multi-use (includig a cultural component) projects which were spread all across the island nation.
The results from the studio were included in the 2010 Bahrain exhibition at the Venice International Architecture Biennale, and will also be published in the next lapa book: “Bahrain Lessons”.
This studio was a collaboration between the lapa, the University of Bahrain, and the Ministry of Culture and Information. The project was instigated by the honourable Sheikha Mai, and was sponsored with assistance from the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
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