HIS Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam laid the foundation for the construction of the new Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Islamic Exhibition Gallery (BPIS) at Jalan Pengiran Babu Raja yesterday.
Costing around $120 million, the building will be able to house nine galleries with 29 themes compared to old temporary venue in the State Mufti’s Office where it can only house four themed exhibitions.
The building, which will also serve to become one of the country’s landmarks, is slated to be completed by March 2017.
Accompanying His Majesty were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and His Royal Highness Prince Hj Jefri Bolkiah as well as His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik and His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Wakeel.
The ceremony began with the recital of Surah Al-Fatihah by State Mufti YB Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awang Abdul Aziz Juned followed by a video presentation showing the interior and exterior concepts of the building.
His Majesty then consented to pour concrete into one of the building’s main pillars, marking the start of the construction followed by a Takbir lauded by the State Mufti.
The monarch then consented to tour around an exhibition showing pictures of the exterior and interior concepts of the new building after signing the memorial plaque for the foundation laying ceremony.
Briefing His Majesty on the exterior concept as he toured along was the Permanent Secretary (Technical and Professional) at the Ministry of Development, Dato Paduka Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar who was also helped by Toh Tsun Lim, an architect from Pei Partnership Architects, New York.
Explaining the interior concepts of the building to the Sultan was the Co-Secretary of the ceremony, director of administration at the State Mufti’s Office Dato Paduka Ahmad Bukhari Pehin Siraja Khatib Hj Abu Hanifah and Jasper Jacobs from Jasper Jacobs Associates from the United Kingdom.
Besides being able to house 1,000 Islamic manuscripts and hundreds of artefacts, the building will also allow the Islamic gallery to extend its intellectual agenda to conduct research on the exhibits and spread the findings to the general public.
His Majesty was then invited to sign the memorial parchment, before receiving a pesambah and concluding the ceremony with a group photo session with the executive committee of the ceremony and members of the management of the project.
The Brunei Times
Thursday, May 28, 2015