people meet in land reclamation

The Kingdom of Bahrain, an island nation neighbouring Dubai and facing the Arabian Peninsula, was once completely dependent on the sea through its fishing and pearling activities, but today it has nearly turned its back on it. RECLAIM is an investigation on informal coastal settlements, consisting of fishermen’s huts laying on plots, which were once used as gathering places of pearl divers hosting the first organized syndicates. Today, scattered here and there, at the edge of the reclaimed and soon to be claimed sea, the huts host five o’clock tea sessions and backgammon games; a small attempt to reclaim a zest of leisurely coastal space.

Reclaim rethinks the openness of Bahrain’s waterfront at its Venice Biennale Pavilion, trying to recover a lost relationship, by showing and displaying some of its still existing pile-dwellings. These huts together with the endless land reclamation to the sea, makes the island extend and extend…and also be awarded the Golden Lion to the best National Participation:

“Given the range of vast urban developments that Kingdom of Bahrain could have been tempted to include in this Exhibition, the jury was impressed by the choice, instead, of a lucid and forceful self-analysis of the nation’s relationship with its rapidly changing coastline. Here transient forms of architecture are presented as devices for reclaiming the sea as a form of public space: an exceptionally humble yet compelling response to People meet in architecture, the theme proposed by Exhibition Director Kazuyo Sejima.”

[source and images> Bahrain Urban Research Team & A Coastal Promenade by Camille Zakharia]

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