Located in Bani Jamrah, Bahrain, the Al Naseej Factory by Leopold Banchini is a textile weaving facility and social space for the region’s local craftspeople. The shaded structure, complete with greenery, a water network, and seating areas, brings a naturally refreshing environment to the inhabitants of the village.
The project is part of a broader effort by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities aimed at redefining and reinvigorating traditional crafts and industries across Bahrain. In line with this, the project features the traditional building technique of Arish whereby dry leaves of date palms are woven into a strong textile surface.
Organizing the site and serving as a reference to the date palm plantations of the north island, a tight grid of timber columns and beams define the low structure, which stretches the boundary of the site. Palm trees piercing through the horizontal ceiling lend a vertical expression of drama.
Inside, traditional below-grade pits allow weavers to sit while operating timber looms, as they are historically accustomed. The sunken areas serve both as production areas for tapestries and weaving as well as areas for social exchange thanks to the precise excavations below the finished floor level of the building.
Adding to the quality of the interior space, date palms, ponds, and fountains further help to break down the rigidity of the grid-like frame with the structure appearing to dissolve into the shaded garden.