Textile Textile Factory / Leopold Panchini Architects
Text description provided by the architects. Shaded by a light structure of an arish, Bahraini weavers use a hole to be dug in the ground to fit their legs. Through this simple procedure, the Earth was turned into an endless table to pull the wires needed for their delicate work. Arish is a traditional building technique that uses the dry leaves of the date palm and weaves them into a hard surface. As such, the fabric and architecture protecting the artisans were woven on site.
The Textile Factory is a textile facility and social space for local artisans in Bani Jamra. It is part of a broader effort by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities aimed at redefining and revitalizing traditional crafts and industries across Bahrain.
A narrow network of columns and rafters is applied to the site as an organizing principle and reference to the date palm plantations in the north of the island irrigated by an intricate network of aqueducts. The resulting building is a low, quiet street elevation that extends across the entire site boundary. Only palm trees penetrate the horizontal ceiling and become an expression of the building.
However, internally, the structure acquires a formation derived from the pits below the notch in which the weavers sit while operating the timber loom. To this end, textile and textile production spaces as well as social exchange are delimited by a series of precise excavations below the building’s final floor level. Palm trees, ponds and fountains were placed throughout the interior of the project to increase the rigidity of the lattice structure. The structure is a garden and an open but protected building. Specific posts are surrounded only by panes of glass that melt into the shaded garden.
Made from regionally available materials, the building’s construction draws on and celebrates local building traditions and crafts. The shaded structure, greenery, water system, and seating areas create a naturally refreshing garden for the village residents; Woven architecture.