The Bait as-Sail Rehabilitation and Restoration Project, Salalah, Oman
Bait as-Sail is one of the grandest houses of Salalah, Oman, built by some of the community’s successful overseas traders.
Spatially the merchants houses consisted or large compounds, which served more than just residential functions, but also housed part of the owner’s business. The ground floors were in most cases reserved for the storage of goods and equipment.
Apart from the general proportions of the architecture one of the defining features of Salalah’s grand residential buildings are the heavily decorated windows, which can be broadly categorised as either masonry or wooden.
About the project
The rehabilitation of Bait as-Sail is a pilot project to test through implementation and monitoring of concepts and designs proposed in the Heritage Management and Development Plan for Salalah, Oman, commissioned to ArCHIAM by Ministry of Heritage and Culture, Oman. An adaptive reuse proposal has been put forward for the programmatic conversion of this prominent merchant house into a cultural centre.
This has enabled ArCHIAM to test – for the first time in Oman – the applicability of restoration, rebuilding and reuse concepts developed by the team and internationally. A detailed environmental modelling of the indoor environmental conditions of Bait as-Sail – temperature and humidity levels – has been conducted at the University of Liverpool, by Prof Steve Sharples’ research group. The findings of this study have informed ArCHIAM’s design concepts and solutions in response to issues of natural lighting, ventilation and evapotranspiration in the building.
A series of drawings has been produced including:
• detailed plans, sections and elevations of the building, illustrating all new build, revitalization and reuse actions undertaken;
• illustrative technical details and key specifications of materials and methods.
ArCHIAM was also in charge of monitoring and recording the implementation of work undertaken by an independent contractor through all the stages of the construction.