The Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced that Al Ain’s Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa has been honoured by the 2022 Arab Architects Awards, winning in the Adaptive Reuse category.

Now in its third edition, the Association of Arab Architects-sponsored Awards takes place every three years, dedicated to showcasing the best architectural projects and honouring the most visionary architects in the Arab world. The award ceremony was held in Amman, Jordan on 16 and 17 November and gathered hundreds of architects, urban planners, engineers, and designers in the Arab region.

For the 2022 Awards, the jury shortlisted 17 projects across seven categories: Private Housing; Large-scale Housing Projects; Public Buildings; Educational Facilities, Cultural, Museums, and Art Facilities; Hotels and Resorts, Tourism and Entertainment; Office Buildings/Commercial; and Adaptive Reuse.

Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa won in the latter category, impressing the jury with its adaptive reuse of a historic house into a vibrant and creative public space saw the former home of the late Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan (1909-1979) transformed into a community centre open to all.

Located within the World Heritage Site of Al Ain, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa is a rare surviving example of Abu Dhabi’s architectural Transition Period, a time in which hybrid styles evolved as a result of the economic impact of oil exploration and discovery. An example of the fusion of tradition and modern building materials and techniques, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa offers valuable insights into the changing social, historical and architectural traditions of the nation during the 1950s and 1960s.

The restoration project preserved and rehabilitated the architectural fabric of the building while creatively repurposing the spaces for multi-purpose public use and sensitively adding new elements to support its new use as a community centre. It now contains spaces for hire by the public, a permanent exhibition narrating the history of the house and of Al Ain, an art learning centre, and a café.

This home was once an eminent landmark and focal point for the community of Al Ain, as the late Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan was a highly esteemed figure. Now conserved, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa has resumed its place as a vibrant hub for city residents.