MMAG Foundation Amman


Project description

The MMAG Foundation offers space for the exhibition and production of art. Greenwood Barton Architects and AAU Anastas are appointed to develop a brief, a masterplan and provide initial designs for the foundation’s campus in Jabal Amman.



The site of the foundation is on a hill between two streets. Buildings which were historically separate are connected by a patchwork of uneven terraces and earthy banks. A new horizontal connection approximately halfway between the two streets, navigates changes in level from South East to North West, following a topographical logic which makes Villas Shams Al Dein, Abu Al Huda, Kawar and the Kawar office building accessible along the same transversal path.



By removing Villa Abu Al Huda’s kitchen and returning the villa to its original form a new route is opened up which allows for degrees of accessibility that change depending on the time of day or night or how the site is used at any given time. Similarly, demolition of a late addition to the rear of Villa Kawar opens up access to a secluded garden and makes it possible to experience the full extent of the site.



New vertical structures are infrastructural in both feel and performance. They connect the new route to the higher and lower streets in place of Villa Shams Al Dein and the Kawar office building.

We have looked carefully at both existing buildings and find them to be of negligible value and in the case of Shams Al Dein, structurally unsound. They contribute little to the existing spatial typologies found in other buildings and provide many problem solving opportunities. The histories of these buildings, and particularly the roof and terrace of Shams Al Dein and the openness to the street of the existing shopfronts inform the design. Rough hewn stones reclaimed from demolition of the villa are set aside and used to construct two small, geometrically composed buildings beneath the former guard’s house, forming the administrative centre of the Foundation. The placement of these structures creates interstitial spaces and a sense of density which speak to and enhance spatial morphologies which exist elsewhere on the site.

The relationship of interior and exterior space, and specifically the extension of public, exterior space into the interiors, informs the design of the proposed structures. In contrast to the closed, monolithic character of the existing buildings, new buildings will be open and transparent, offering new scales of space and enhancing the juxtapositions and unusual proximities already found on the site. These contrasts will not only be tectonic but could be experienced with all your senses and offer degrees of comfort; for example when you enter Villa Kawar it will be dry and shielded form the wind but may also be colder than the other interiors. Both new and old buildings and exterior space provide a wide range of spatial typologies, functions and experiences – from small, efficiently planned, inward looking space to large, flexible, outward looking space – solving practical needs while allowing for future interpretation and adaptation of use. While the existing buildings root the foundation in the history of the city and relate it to the domestic scale of the neighbourhood, the new buildings will speak to its significance beyond its urban setting.

The proposed masterplan enhances the uniqueness and peculiarity of the architecture and site by working on tranversalities, proximities and relations between interior and exterior. New interventions make the site accessible to all by providing an open infrastructure of varied spatial typologies which are specific but not elaborately defined. In this way it will respond to Charles Renfro’s proposition that “the art school must accept new methods of production without knowing them”.

Bethlehem Palestine

79 Caritas Street Bethlehem

T +972 (2) 2741255
F +972 (2) 2741333

Paris France

4, rue Robert de Flers 75015

T +33(6) 81 08 20 82

Bethlehem Palestine

T +972 (5) 05200399
F +972 (2) 2741333 →

© aauanastas 2014