AMAR, essentially an architects' office, was set up by a group of Saudis, with the aim of stimulating interest in the Saudi architectural heritage by means of restoration and development in the Old Balad part of Jeddah. The group consider their main challenges: as lack of information, research and reference materials relating to appropriate conservation techniques; scarcity of craftsmen specialised in traditional crafts; and an apparent gap between traditional craftsmen and construction professionals. The now-restored five-storey building concerned here serves the dual purpose of offering comfortable work conditions whilst exhibiting what be achieved in restoration, blending past with present.
Existing features have been maintaned throughout, though some internal walls appear to have been removed. Air-conditioning and modern services were installed to ensure the level of comfort associated with the contemporary office environment. An exhibition space and the computer room form part of AMAR activity in gathering and making available information concerning Saudi architectural heritage, in particular, and Muslim culture in general.
Architect’s Record of Amar Headquarters. Courtesy of Architect (submitted to the Aga Khan Award for Architecture), 1992.
In the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the architects of projects engaged in the nomination process receive an Award documentation package which describes the standardised presentation requirements. In addition to submitting photographs, slides, and architectural drawings, architects are asked to complete a detailed Architect's Record pertaining to use, cost, environmental and climatic factors, construction materials, building schedule, and, more importantly, design concepts and each project's significance within its own context.