A strategic masterplan for the Petra region aims to enhance the value of the ancient site and upgrade the development sprawl of Wadi Musa, which lies at the foot of Petra. Plans include a modernised visitors’ centre, multiple plazas, an updated hotel and the proposed Petra Museum.

Standing at the edge of history, the Petra Museum will showcase the antiquities of the Nabatean city and help preserve the archaeological site. The design is not imposing, in order to maintain the hierarchical importance of the historical site itself. Spread over 2,000 square metres of indoor space, the museum features gallery halls and audio-visual displays of the history of Petra.

Natural views

The concept also looks to maintain the natural views of scattered greenery, the descending wadi and vast canyon formations beyond. The museum will illuminate the wadi at night through its perforated facade, echoing the mysterious journey into the Siq, the rock passageway of soaring height that leads to the Treasury.

At the podium, the museum carves its walls from the existing landscape, borrowing from the land by reflecting its texture and colour as the Nabateans once did. In a contemporary spirit, perched on top of these walls are minimalistic geometric forms. The shadow cast from the museum is accentuated with reflective water beds, which add a cooling effect. Vibrant outdoor plazas provide a space for locals and visitors to gather.

Local stone is used throughout the museum. At the podium level, the stone is left rugged to match nature’s paintbrush, while the contemporary parts use smooth and intricate stone that reflects our age. The use of local stone from the surrounding area allows for simple and traditional construction methods. The future construction of the museum will create employment opportunities and involve people at a community level.

With a minimal environmental impact in such a culturally sensitive urban context, the Petra Museum – and the masterplan that umbrellas it – will revitalise and create a sustainable and prosperous future for Petra and Wadi Musa.