The Historic House of Abu Jaber
(Adaptive Reuse)

Client : Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities of Jordan & The Greater Salt Municipality

Location: Al Salt- Jordan

Joint Venture : PCI Japan (During supervision phase) and CC Group

Year : 1999- 2009

The project centers on the adaptive reuse of Abu Jaber house into the city’s historic museum.  The Project should be positioned as part of Jordan’s attempts to develop urban heritage conservation and the promotion of urban heritage tourism in historic city cores Jordan.  The conservation philosophy was based first on a respect of the House and Site’s significance and values (architectural, historic, urban, other). Furthermore, the conservation design was based on understanding the building typology, as a “Bilad al Sham (Levant) Townhouse”.  This understanding informed the various levels of intervention (e.g., adaptive reuse, structural stabilization, new additions, other).  In addition, based on international heritage conservation conventions and charters, the conservation philosophy is based on creating a designed distinction between the original fabric of the existing building, and new additions.  The curatorship interpretation, and presentation concept was based on granting voice to the urban social history, culture and everyday life during the Golden Age (mid 19th and early 20th centuries) of the City’s history.  It has been considered to represent a paradigm shift in the development of museography in Jordanian museums for having focused on the recent past (late Ottoman and the transformations from the second half of the 19th century into the 20th centuries) and on narrating everyday life.

The significance of this project first lies in its attempt to preserve this significant architecture, which represents an important architectural type in the City, adapting it into a function that supports urban heritage tourism in the City.  The adaptation of Abu Jaber House into a historic museum can be considered as a rare example in Jordan in crediting the local social history of As-Salt from the 19th and early 20th centuries, which had not been represented in Jordan museums before.  The Historic House Museum of Abu Jaber will serve as the focal point within the historic city core, forming the starting point to various heritage trails exploring the City as an “Eco Museum” with its trails, plazas, and public spaces, panoramic lookouts, steps and distinctive historic architecture.  Many anthropologists and researchers argued that the Historic House Museum of Abu Jaber in As-Salt represents a new museographic, and perhaps even, ideological trend in the production of interpretation and presentation schemes of heritage sites in Jordan and in the region.