Modernism in the Arab World: Bahrain’s Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

© Nico Saieh

In Bahrain‘s pavilion for the 2014 Venice Biennale, the country uses its position on the eastern edge of the pan-Arabic region to investigate modernity’s impact on the Arab world: first as a colonial imposition, then as a local attempt to reconcile global and Arabic culture, then finally as an acceptance of neoliberal ideals.

The exhibition collects 100 projects from across the Arabic states, with the intention of consolidating and preserving knowledge of this critical period. The installation itself, a giant bookcase, is the manifestation of this research, and will later be made available at the Arab Center for Architecture.

Bahrain National Theatre / AS.Architecture Studio

© Nicolas Buisson

Architects: AS.Architecture Studio
Location: ,
Area: 10370.0 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Nicolas Buisson

Bahrain House / MORIQ

Courtesy of

Architects: MORIQ
Location: Hamala,
Area: 12,700 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of MORIQ

Urban Oasis Proposal / Influx_Studio

Courtesy of Influx_Studio

The proposal by Influx_Studio for the Bab Al Urban Oasis explores the value of the cultural and natural landscape inheritance as a design opportunity to address climate issues in public space, while catalyzing the urban potential of the site in the emerging new city urbanity. Urban Oasis is called to be the most important public space of , embodying its dynamic character and showcasing its new sustainable identity. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Bar Al Bahrain Pavillion / Noura Al Sayeh & Leopold Banchini

© Eman Ali

Architects: Noura Al Sayeh & Leopold Banchini
Location: Bab al square,
Organizer: Capital of Arab Culture 2012, Ministry of Culture, Kingdom of Bahrain
Exhibition Design: Noura Al Sayeh & Leopold Banchini
Construction: Syed M. Ahmed, Masy Int; Creative Wrought Iron Factory; Bu HussainAluminium and Mirrors.
Photographs: Eman Ali