Direct Commission

Pearl and Jewellery

Museum Al Wakrah

Pearl and Jewellery Museum

The Pearl- and Jewellery Museum Al Wakrah reinvigorates the rebuilt old-town of Al Wakrah. Along one of the typical alleyways connecting the town to the sea five of the lesser important buildings get used as formwork to create new buildings, which allow incorporating highly specialised exhibition spaces and simultaneously blend into the morphological structure of the existing townscape.

This infiltration occupies five traditional houses in different locations designating a public route that links the contemporary city to the shoreline. The old courtyard houses will be appropriated as galleries to house the museums collection with each building dedicated to the exhibition of one particular aspect of the creation of pearls and the making of jewellery.

Rather than locating the museum within those buildings deemed the most culturally important, thereby necessitating their considerable alteration, Harry Gugger Studio has chosen those interstitial structures, seen as less significant, for appropriation. In collaboration with the English artist Rachel Whiteread, these appropriated structures will be re-imagined as negative casts of their volume.

This casting process will preserve the historical fabric of the existing structures whilst providing the optimum conditions needed for the galleries themselves. The final volume of these buildings will reflect and appropriate the scale, facade layout and memory of the original structures, whilst their interiors will each be individually tailored for the optimum display of the collection.

The museums final centrepiece, located below the cast of a warehouse structure that projects out into the sea, will be a sunken Treasury Box dedicated to the key elements of the museums collection. Entirely concealed below the sea, seven floors of gallery spaces stacked in a spiral like manner will descend within a large void to form a radical underground museum.

Masterplan Strategy

Al Wakrah, Designated Site Area

Existing Site Conditions

Neighbourhoods, Routes, Museum

Pearl and Jewellery Museum in Al Wakrah

Al Wakrah Masterplan

A Route through Al-Wakrah

Narrative Galleries

Museum Route

The Natural History of Pearls Gallery, Section & Elevations

The Natural History of Pearls Gallery Volumes

The Natural History of Pearls Gallery

Pearl Fishing, Diving & Trading Gallery, Section & Elevations

Pearl Fishing, Diving & Trading Gallery Volumes

Pearl Fishing, Diving & Trading Gallery

Mother-of-Pearl Gallery, Section & Elevations

Mother-of-Pearl Gallery Volumes

Mother-of-Pearl Gallery

Pearls in History Gallery, Section & Elevations

Pearls in History Gallery Volumes

Pearls in History Gallery

Pearl Cultivation Gallery, Section & Elevations

Pearl Cultivation Gallery Volumes

Pearl Cultivation Gallery

Treasury Box

Amara & Plinth

Excavated Void

Exhibition Program

Spiral Alignment

Balcony Thresholds

Treasury Box Program

Treasury Box Circulation


Gallery Spiral


Treasury Box Plans

Treasury Box Plan L00, Entrance Lobby

Treasury Box Plan B01, 'Jewellery - A Human Passion'

Treasury Box Plan B02, 'Talismanic Jewellery'

Treasury Box Plan B03, 'Beauty is in the Details'

Treasury Box Plan B04, 'Materials'

Treasury Box Plan B05, 'Indian Jewellery'

Treasury Box Plan B06, 'The Royal Gallery of Tiaras & Ethnic Jewellery'

Treasury Box Plan B07, 'Temporary Exhibition Gallery'

Treasury Box Section

Treasury Box Section

Treasury Box Section

Typical Gallery Interior

Balcony Tresholds

Temporary Exhibition Gallery

Treasury Box Skylight Studies

Model Studies



Rachel Whiteread

Civil engineer: