Students, foreigners join hands to preserve heritage village

Some of the students involved in the project.

Some of the students involved in the project.

A project to revive Al-Akkas heritage village is bringing Saudi students and foreigners together for an exhibition held on the sidelines of the fourth National Urban Heritage Campaign organized at the Al-Muftahah village.

The project includes 30 designs laid down under the leadership of Anna Klemanjan to transform the village in Ahba, to a technological and art center where art is intertwined with advanced technology. The project has its source at Dar Al-Hekmah with the collaboration of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA).

An engineer involved in the project, Seema Al-Rifaei, said the students and the university staff are presenting light and sound events highlighting the architectural aesthetics of the heritage village. The project also features traditional paintings, elaborated by local artists such as Ahmed Mater, Abdul Nasser Al-Gharim, Ibrahim Abu Mismar and Abdullah Hammas, among others.

The contributors also included French artist Terry Mojer, Ann Stimund from the US and the Swedish artist Katherine Hanks.

Al-Rifaei said the project was the first step in the direction of developing Asir’s villages to very high standards so that they can claim a place at the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. She added that Ann’s idea was to coordinate between businessmen, Asir residents and different government departments to support the project of reviving the village heritage in the province. According to Klemanjan, these villages display the most exquisite urban aesthetics and should be preserved for future generations.

Klemanjan presented the revival project at the urban heritage forum in Asir.

”This village will serve as a starting point to design the development of other heritage villages,” she said, adding that the university students prepared research papers in this field, as part of their study program. The Dar Al-Hekmah students prepared 30 engineering designs for the village with the aim of launching a center for arts and technology in the town powered by solar energy. University lecturer Lubna Yasin said the village sprawling over 3,000 square meters required the support and protection of those who are interested in architectural heritage.

Director of Planning and Engineering at the Asir branch of SCTA Saad Thaqfan stressed the significance of students and artists working together to turn public attention to the revival of the architectural heritage of past generations.


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