Arno Heinz, an Austrian, studied architecture in Vienna and is now based in Paris and a member of the French Order of Architects. He has designed a palace for a member of the royal family of Saudi Arabia (1973), the J. Verdun Theater in Vincennes, France, and fifty-five dwellings in Rue Mouffetard and a creche in Paris (1975--1978). He is responsible for the restoration and transformation in Algiers of the Mahieddine Villas into a cultural center and office for the Historical Monuments Service (1976). In 1977 he carried out a study in Syria aimed at listing the historical sites and monuments for the World Cultural Patrimony. Between 1977 and 1981 he was responsible for the restoration of the historical quarter of Suleimaniye and Zeyrek in Istanbul. Between 1981 and 1983 he planned 600 dwellings in Innsbruck, Austria, and a project for 200 dwellings still to be completed.
(Source: Architecture in continuity: building in the Islamic world today: the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. New York: Aperture: Distributed in the U.S. by Viking Penguin, c1985.)
The programme consists of the restoration and interior reorganisation of a large 18th-19th century palace. Situated in the Medina of Tunis, the palace is surrounded by a densely populated area of low-income housing. This building, considered to be highly representative of the traditional architectural heritage, was chosen as the seat for the Association for the Preservation of the Medina. The restoration programme, although carried out in strict accordance with the original structure and decoration, also included the introduction of various new elements. All new features reflect a contemporary architectural language rather than that of mere historical replication. As a result of the reorganisation of spaces in accordance with the building's new functions, the cultural centre (comprising exhibition halls, conference rooms, a library, a coffee house and laboratories) was situated in the main structure, while offices were located in a small wing which was rebuilt in the 1920s. A small annex, formerly in ruin, has been entirely reconstructed to house the drawing studios. The courtyard has been maintained as a central space arid the indirect entrances leading to it have been kept. Elsewhere, additional openings have been created to improve natural lighting conditions. As the overall budget was low, materials used were generally those at hand on the site which were recycled - ceramic tiles, marble, limestone, flat bricks, woodwork, etc. General repairs and upgrading were made to roofs, flooring, ceilings, finishes and electrical installments.