Zanzibar – Stone Town – Palatial Rehabilitation

Waterfront – Forodhani Area – UNESCOheritage – Urban Transformation – Beit al-Sahel – Beit al-Hukum – Beit al-Ajaib (House of Wonders)


– Zanzibar 1949 – British Pathé

 Atrium View of Beit al-Ajaib (House of Wonders)

– Zanzibar Beit al-Ajaib Palatial Transformation

– New Harbor – Proposal







Proposed Interventions

– Rebuild the Lighthouse, built 1878-80, at its original position – use it as public sightseeing platform.

– Rehabilitate  Beit al-Ajaib  (House of Wonders), built 1880-83, to its original state – use it as Zanzibar Historical Museum.

– Rebuild Beit al-Hukum – use it for receptional activities.

– Rebuild Beit al-Sahel (within its former building envelope) – install Maritime Museum.

– Rehabilitate the square between the palaces and the waterfront – use it for all kinds of public activities






Forodhani Site – Layout Sketch





Stone Town, 19th century

1888 ca. Beit al-Ajaib, elegant and most modern building in Africa at the time






6 thoughts on “Zanzibar – Stone Town – Palatial Rehabilitation

  1. Beit-el-Hukm

    2015.05.05 – 11:50

    Dear Mr. Ben Huser,

    We are four architecture students from Brussels.We just came back from a workshop in Stone Town and we are currently working on a project for our master thesis. We came across your website while doing research on the Beit-el-Hukm and we were wondering if you have more informations about this palace (plans and sections), the palace complex (with the Beit-el-Sahel, Beit-el-Ajaib, etc.) and about the seafront historic.

    We would be very grateful if you can share the informations you have.

    Best Regards,

    Zoé Gehin, Salwat Idi, Marie Dziezuk and Serge Delire

    • dear Zoé,

      desolate, I do not have plans of the palace district (did some survey work of Beit-el-Ajaib but did not process the sketches up to now);

      good sources for historical material are:

      – The Zanzibar National Archive
      – Agha Khan Trust for Culture – eg.: “Zanzibar – a Plan for the Historic Stone Town”
      – The Humphrey Winterton Collection of East African Photographs
      – Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft Universitätsbibliothek, Frankfurt
      – etc.

      wish you the best for your work; yours,

  2. Dear Ben,

    Thank you so much for the sources. It will be very helpful for us.

    Best regards,

    Zoé Gehin

  3. hello mr Ben

    really and actually i would like to know the information of history architecture of Beit al Sahel and Beit al Hukum.
    Pleas i need your help

    • Dear Salum,

      to find out I suggest you just start somewhere, e.g., “Zanzibar National Museum of History and Culture”, or “The Agha Khan Trust for Culture – Historic Cities Support Programme”, or “The Humphrey Winterton Collection of Eastern African Photography: 1860-1960”, etc., etc.


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