Bahrain’s pearling path is a 3.5 kilometer (2.2 mile) trail that connects a series of destinations significant to the country’s pearling industry.
located on muharraq island, the visitor pathway connects three oyster beds, a seashore site, and nine clusters of historic buildings that comprise a total of 17 architectural structures. although the region’s pearling economy subsided in the 1930s, the route was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2012.
now, amid the historic commercial buildings of muharraq’s traditional market, swiss architect valerio olgiati has designed the trail’s visitor and experience center.the building, which also serves as an entrance to the pearling path, is defined externally by a series of concrete elements that serve as a new reference point within the densely populated city.
once inside, the site’s ruins — part of the trail — are presented beneath a vast concrete canopy. here, valerio olgiati has created a large space where a forest of columns and wind towers elevates the roof 10 meters (33 feet) above the ground.