The programme consists of the restoration and interior reorganisation of a large 18th-19th century palace. Situated in the Medina of Tunis, the palace is surrounded by a densely populated area of low-income housing. This building, considered to be highly representative of the traditional architectural heritage, was chosen as the seat for the Association for the Preservation of the Medina. The restoration programme, although carried out in strict accordance with the original structure and decoration, also included the introduction of various new elements. All new features reflect a contemporary architectural language rather than that of mere historical replication. As a result of the reorganisation of spaces in accordance with the building's new functions, the cultural centre (comprising exhibition halls, conference rooms, a library, a coffee house and laboratories) was situated in the main structure, while offices were located in a small wing which was rebuilt in the 1920s. A small annex, formerly in ruin, has been entirely reconstructed to house the drawing studios. The courtyard has been maintained as a central space arid the indirect entrances leading to it have been kept. Elsewhere, additional openings have been created to improve natural lighting conditions. As the overall budget was low, materials used were generally those at hand on the site which were recycled - ceramic tiles, marble, limestone, flat bricks, woodwork, etc. General repairs and upgrading were made to roofs, flooring, ceilings, finishes and electrical installments.
Source: Aga Khan Trust for Culture