Noura & Anne

Amid the turbo-development and futuristic cities of the Arabian Gulf, two architects have found a slower pace—and each other—in Bahrain.

If the tiny island nation of Bahrain has an architectural power couple, it’s Noura Al Sayeh Holtrop and Anne Holtrop—originally from Palestine and the Netherlands, respectively. After living in the country briefly as a child, trained architect Noura, 35, moved back to Bahrain in 2009 and took up the post of head of architectural affairs within the government’s ministry of culture. It’s a position she’s made her own over the last 10 years, working on the country’s heritage preservation projects and its award-winning first participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2010.

She met Anne, 41, an architect who’d initially set out to be an artist, in 2014. The two now live in Bahrain, and Anne’s practice is split between Europe and this unique pocket of the Arabian Gul...

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