Friday, 31 January 2020

Architecture Plan of Bab Al Bahrain from 1945

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Reading through the Qatar Digital Library's massive digitised archives of British colonial files, I stumbled upon this architectural plan of a redesign of the customs square of Manama. From an administrative report of Bahrain in 1945, the plan seemingly shows the blueprints of what is today the iconic Bab Al Bahrain landmark, the gateway to the Manama souq.

Planned and approved in 1945, the project would take three years and involve an overhaul of the customs square that included land reclamation between the customs pier and the Hilal building, constructing a passport office on the pier and relocating the import shed.

Perhaps most crucially, the project would see the demolition of the post office and police station, replacing it instead with a large two-storey building. This building would house government offices, the Land department, the King's personal office, and majlises for public occasions. The building iconically would feature a bridge that connects two blocks of the building, with a road passing underneath linking the customs square to the main souq road. The plan also widened the main souq street and facilitated the construction of 9 new and modern shops.

Manama in 1945. Facing westwards, you can see the customs pier and sea road to the right. (QDL)


Bab Al Bahrain, year unknown.

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