In March 2017, the celebrated Iraqi architect Basil Al Bayati opened a cultural centre in the heart of Málaga city that will enable residents and visitors to experience the culture of Al-Andalus through its craftsmanship, architecture and design. It’s called “The Unique World of Basil Al Bayati” and it is a project that has taken three years to complete.
Basil Al Bayati – Cultural Centre
His reason for selecting Málaga as the home of his project is this:
“I came to Málaga in 1976 and I liked it because it reminds me of Baghdad, where I was born.”
Unfortunately, for Baghdad and Al Bayati, the same comparison does not apply today.
This addition to Málaga’s cultural life is another bonus for the city that has become something of a ‘museum central’, as Al Bayati was approached by offers from the UK and Germany to set it up those countries. But, the architect who has worked all over Europe, stuck with southern Spain, mostly because “the concept fits in better” as he told reporters.
The project’s budget started out at 1 million euros, but doubled due to the extra renovations that were needed. Visitors will find a book and gift shop on the ground floor, stocking books published by Fabulist, which is owned by Al Bayati. It covers a diverse range of topics including architecture, fiction, psychology and the history of Andalucia under the Moors.
The cafeteria on the first floor is a grand affair with its hand-carved wooden ceilings and lamps specially made in Turkey. And, it follows current eating trends, as it will focus on serving food that is vegetarian and ecological.
The second floor houses temporary exhibitions alongside architectural displays, ceramics and furniture. One of Al Bayati’s aims with this project is to build links with the Architecture School of Málaga and the College of Architects so that there is more joint working on projects.
There is also space for workshops and conferences, and Al Bayati will live on the premises as well. However, visitors will still have access to the roof terrace, which provides great views of the cathedral and Alcazaba.
The centre is at 3 Calle Marqués de Guadiaro in a building that dates from 1877 and was designed by Jerónimo Cuervo. If you’re visiting Málaga, it is a great place to visit if you are interested in the cultural legacy of the Moors in Spain and an opportunity to understand its magnificence and its impact on Spanish architecture design, including the residential properties currently for sale on Umuzee.com.