Christian Kerez designs a parking structure in Bahrain as part of the Pearl Path project
Since 2002, the historic city of Muharraq, the third largest in Bahrain, has been the protagonist of a comprehensive preservation and development project aimed at highlighting its pearl history and improving the urban environment. Building on the legacy of Muharraq, several new structures designed by world-renowned architects to create the framework for the city’s renewal, including four multi-storey car parks designed by Christian Kerez and expected to be completed this year. Structures envisioned not as car storage but as public spaces feature curved slabs that create a continuous transition from one level to the next while shaping an ever-changing spatial experience.
The four new parking structures are part of the Pearl Path project, which consists of creating new public spaces within the dense urban fabric of Muharraq to support the preservation and restoration of built heritage. Adapted to their respective sites, the four projects follow the same architectural concept, where the slabs go from concave to convex, touching each other and creating a continuous spatial transition.
The parking structure on plot D is the most exposed, the independent building being accessible from all four sides. The driving sequence begins with a sculptural tube-like extension of the lowest point of the slab, followed by an opening in the corner of the next floor, and this spatial gesture is repeated on subsequent floors. Due to its small footprint, plot D is the most complex and also the most spectacular in terms of geometric transformations of all parking structures. The project can also serve as a venue for street theater or concerts, as well as markets.
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Other new projects circumscribed by the Pearl Path program include a reception center for PAD architects, a pedestrian bridge and several public spaces designed by OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen and Leopold Banchini Architects, the gateway of Valerio Olgiati to the Pearling Pathway or the Studio Anne Holtrop redevelopment of the city’s oldest market.
- Group project: Caio Barboza, Bartosz Bukowski, Daniel Carlson, Sofia Blanco Santos, Jonas Løland, Raoul Dubois, Matthias Leutert, Jens Knöpfel, Enrico Pinto, Christiana Pitsillidou, Laura Paluch, Korbinian Huber, Siwen Wang, Lisa Kusaka, Dennis Saiello
- Commissioners: Bahrain Culture and Antiquities Authority (BACA), Sheikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa
- General planner: Technical design of Arsinals – Fuad Sharaf
- Structural engineers: Monotti Ingeneri Consulenti SA – Mario Monotti (concept and staircase), Arsinals Engineering Design (reference engineer), Strong Force MGCWLL (prestressed concrete slabs), EDGE Consulting Engineering (column slab connection), Dr. Neven Kostic GmbH – Neven Kostic (Balustrade)
- Traffic engineer advice: Ivan Kosarev, LK Argus GmbH
- 3D traffic design: Studio Alden
- General contractor : Mohammed Abdulmohsin Al-Kharafi & Sons WLL