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.
Amar Headquarters On-site Review Report, edited by Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 1992.
The On-site Review Report, formerly called the Technical Review, is a document prepared for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture by commissioned independent reviewers who report to the Master Jury about a specific shortlisted project. The reviewers are architectural professionals specialised in various disciplines, including housing, urban planning, landscape design, and restoration. Their task is to examine, on-site, the shortlisted projects to verify project data seek. The reviewers must consider a detailed set of criteria in their written reports, and must also respond to the specific concerns and questions prepared by the Master Jury for each project. This process is intensive and exhaustive making the Aga Khan Award process entirely unique.