IDS makes sense out of chaos with new mixed-use development for Bahrain
The evolution of the organic Al-Muharraq Souk has resulted in a very unique urban fabric and is an evident to the way of life of Bahraini. It defies the planning of western cities and requires no formal arrangements. In contrast to the structural clarity of the western city, the irregularity has added much into its own insights. It is a decentralised, fragmented landscape and has much more to do with the experience of the place rather than visual linkage. It is the activities that gave the souk a definition. Hence, the key parts of the morphology involve scalability strategy to make The Eye of Bahrain a magnificent city by infusing it with clear and logical system of interconnected spaces.
Adopting a similar strategy and understanding the critical nuance in contemporary consumption based spaces, the retail spaces of the The Eye of Bahrain souk are layered onto the radial grid system resulting a serendipitous kit of parts; a diversity of respite and active places throughout the souk. The architects enhanced the mall-alleyways with skylights to have greater natural light for the ambience of street shopping. These alleyways will break into smaller courtyards and collectively amalgamate into larger open squares.
In total, the crescent contains seven squares. They form the functional or activity nodes offering a more centralized experience. It has networks of courtyard water gardens as a main theme, representing the development and its future. These networks of green spaces, an ecology of landscaped areas, parks, gardens and squares for the community to use passively and actively. By infusing the souk with clear and logical system of interconnected spaces, the architects have provided order to the labyrinthine network of shops, design centers and showcases, as a retail system requires.
Design Team: Dr Timothy Seow, Phing Seow and Alan Kueh