The repair, restoration and revitalisation of Qasr Al Hosn has aimed to preserve the historic fabric of the individual buildings and to provide a regulatory framework for the future management and use of the block.
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi conceived the concept design for Qasr Al Hosn, carefully conserving each element of the building’s architectural ensemble to its era of origin. This approach of making the evolution of building legible, and also the authenticity of the historic fabric readily identifiable, relied heavily on physical investigations and archival research undertaken over an extensive period of time. This research enabled the conservation works to illustrate the intelligence of traditional building techniques in creating a habitable dwelling in a hot, arid coastal desert environment from a limited palette of materials. The concept not only aimed to conserve and restore the building fabric but to also reinstate the historic coastal desert context in which the building was historically set. This provides an immediate appreciation of Qasr Al Hosn’s relationship with the land and its vernacular origins.
The walls of Qasr Al Hosn were originally constructed from coral and sea stone, which was bedded and rendered with a traditional lime, sand and sea shell paste known as Jus Bahar (Mortar of the Beach). As this compound was made from the white sand from the nearby shore line, the walls would sparkle in the sunlight, leading Qasr Al Hosn to be known as the White Fort.
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