The extent of behind-the-scenes work to conserve Qasr Al Hosn, the symbolic birthplace of Abu Dhabi and a valuable monument of Emirati traditional heritage, has been disclosed following the much anticipated launch of the Qasr Al Hosn Festival 2015. This year’s festival provides access to the Fort, the National Consultative Council, and to select areas of the Cultural Foundation building.
In the past year, efforts have concentrated on gathering in-depth historical research and undertaking physical monitoring of the buildings’ fabric, aspects which will lead the conserved structures becoming building-blocks in the establishment of a cultural hub for the capital.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that we conserve historic and modern elements of the Qasr Al Hosn Fort without causing any damage to its original fabric, thus addressing the need to sensitively conserve a structure of such high historic and cultural significance,” said Arwa Al Nuaimi, Projects Manager at Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
A world-class team of experts has been assembled to support the conservation process of the delicate fabric of the original Fort structure, including the removal of some of the ‘non-original’ elements that were added to the building in the 1980s when the Fort was repurposed to be the National Centre for Documentation and Research (NCDR) – now known as the National Archives. The team of experts is also using modern technology to secure any walls and structures that are lacking support.
Conservation work on Qasr Al Hosn Fort is taking place simultaneously with those on the Cultural Foundation building. With the conservation of one of Abu Dhabi’s modern heritage iconic landmarks on-going, more areas have been opened for public viewing in this year’s Qasr Al Hosn Festival.
Significant progress has been made on conserving the Cultural Foundation building, which is an important component of Abu Dhabi’s collective memory and is the bridge between Qasr Al Hosn and Abu Dhabi’s future aspirations for cultural growth. Conserving the Cultural Foundation building is a fundamental element in the overall conservation project for the entire block.