University : -Infrastructural Restoration in a Geological Landscape through Visitors’ Experience Center, Bholagonj, Sylhet
Tutor(s) : Dr. Niran Moh. Alshikali
“No legacy is greater nor as rich as heritage, preserving it is a must not a choice, for the sake of that, much of our future lies within preserving our own past.”
I believe that a nations culture resides in the hearts of its people and the souls of its buildings, as they sat a long surviving eyewitness to our becoming, preserving, and cherishing the life and past once held in these walls, is our way of saving our intangible yet most precious legacy.
Every historical site has an important story to tell, and these stories have inspired many people to strengthen their convictions and commitment to fight injustice and oppression.
Porta Saltus seeks for the old salt prison to be rehabilitated, to assume its potentials as the location has been abandoned since the early 2000s and has now become a den for outlaws and criminals, which is negatively affecting the city and its image as a tourist attraction destination.
Porta Saltus is the title given by me for this project, because of the location of the site. In ancient roman times the city was given the name Saltus in Latin which means Wooded Area” or “Wilderness,”, Porta is translated Gate, indicating the location of the project as it is situated on –the entrance to the city and thus, Porta Saltus, The Gate of Salt.
Building demolition should be, not the first option in new development, but a last resort: for once a building is gone, it is gone forever, and with it goes its history, culture, and material value.
Standing on the entrance of a city that prospers in rich deeply rooted heritage, an abandoned monument covered with dust and crumbling stone, overlooking the magnificent lively alleys of the tight cluster city, is the old salt prison.
The remaining parts of the original building, aged over 124 years old, held witness to events that shaped the history of the Jordanian kingdom, fused with relatively recent additions the structure remains abandoned since 2008, one of the long-time interests of the great municipality of salt and now possessed by it has, for the rich history the walls hold and the location at the entrance of the city it upholds, become the center of attention of both the local community and the municipality in hopes of establishing an opportunity of mutual benefit as a tourist attraction destination and local economy income.
A relocation of the main entrance accommodating the flow of circulation, and an Infill of new structure that would serve circulation purposes as joints between different parts of the existing fabric to form a connected path was deducted through analysis, to communicate to users the story of the past and to pave a way to the new program with hope for the abandoned prison to become a craft and heritage center.
This project has a significant role in promoting aspects of unaddressed heritage, the value the prison holds is emotional history related rather than physical or architectural elements.
The new program is composed of 4 parts, exhibitions and tour path that focuses on that value, craft centre, admin, leisure.
Additions: A new structure was added for public entrance, leads to the start of the tour, some openings were cute-down to create access between structures, cleared the unnecessary non-essential structure in the interior to create large open space for multiple use, as permanent exhibition and connected them to the panoramic platforms installed on the retaining wall outside. The roof of the cellblock was turned into third level as an administrative level, the top a roof garden to link the peak to the added joint to descend and end the tour path. The exterior was preserved as much as possible, the additions were contradictive in material, basic cubic forms to accommodate surrounding context. Since the entrance to site is not suitable for heavy pedestrian flow, I concluded a bridge will provide necessary access from bus-complex and market to site. The original 3m site entrance was widened to 7m, opens to underground panoramic parking for vehicle access.