Al Hosn is Abu Dhabi’s original urban block, comprising four interrelated components: the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort, the National Consultative Council building the Cultural Foundation, , and the House of Artisans. The official launch will be a celebration of the emirate’s rich history and culture, with a week of public events and programmes to mark the occasion.
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi said: “Qasr Al Hosn embodies the heritage of Abu Dhabi, and a poignant witness to the historic and fundamental milestones in the development of our country. At the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, we are proud to re-introduce this cultural monument after it has been preserved, restored and renovated to become part of Al Hosn, an unparalleled cultural destination in the heart of the city. It reflects the UAE’s ambitious vision, which is being consolidated by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, that is to enhance the value of the people throughout its development, based on its history, heritage and culture as manifested in Al Hosn—a place which not only encapsulates the evolution of Abu Dhabi and its eventful and fascinating memory, but also sets our vision for our country’s creative future.”
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Undersecretary of Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: “With the opening of Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi adds a unique destination to its range of cultural offering it has and achieves two important milestones: preserving our history and culture for future generations and developing an attractive cultural destination combining history, heritage and contemporary art experiences to inspire all visitors of Abu Dhabi. Al Hosn reflects the richness and diversity of our Emirati cultural and historical treasures. Its opening represents a new phase in Abu Dhabi’s cultural plans which reflect the unique cultural features that characterise our society and drive our people towards greater creativity”.
Located on Al Hosn e alongside Qasr Al Hosn and the Cultural Foundation, the House of Artisans is an initiative dedicated to the safeguarding and promotion of the UAE’s intangible heritage. Exhibitions, workshops and training courses focusing on traditional Emirati handicrafts such as Al-Sadu (weaving), Khoos (palm frond braiding) and Talli (embroidery) will enable the all-important transmission of knowledge and skills around these crafts, ensuring their future survival.
The crafts represented in House of Artisans celebrate the creative and artistic relationship between the people of the United Arab Emirates and the locally available natural resources. Within the diverse landscapes of the UAE – from the desert, to the oases, to the coast and sea – artisans have developed skills to meet functional and economic needs. The crafts made through these skills show a deep artistic sensitivity. Shared from generation to generation, this intangible heritage now preserves not only the practical skills but also the shared values associated with Emirati identity.
House of Artisans will serve as a tangible and practical means for preserving and displaying the traditional crafts of the UAE and enabling the all-important transmission of knowledge and skills around these crafts, ensuring their future survival. The opening of the House of Artisans will showcase the traditional handicrafts, and a year-round programme of workshops and training courses that will be offered to the public, bringing these crafts to the heart of contemporary culture.
The Al Hosn site masterplan is divided diagonally into two areas with distinctive identities: the past and present. On one side, the historic Qasr Al Hosn Fort has been reinstated in its original coastal desert, sand plain landscape, while on the other, a modern heritage area with a city grid layout has been created around the Cultural Foundation, celebrating Abu Dhabi’s urbanisation.
These concepts merge in the middle of the site, where structures such as the Food & Beverage establishments and the Musallah are inspired by the polygonal-patterned shapes of the dried salt flats, or Sabkha in Arabic, which surround Abu Dhabi between the coast and the inland desert. The planting and landscaping throughout are inspired by the indigenous vegetation in the desert around the emirate.
Water has played an extremely important role in the development of Abu Dhabi and is therefore represented as an important and integrated part of the masterplan, with a series of water features running diagonally through the middle of the site, between the two contexts of Traditional and Modern Abu Dhabi.