Posts tagged with "Palestine":

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Exhibition on modern architecture in British Mandate Palestine opens at Yale

The Yale School of Architecture Gallery will host Social Construction: Modern Architecture in British Mandate Palestine, a traveling exhibition previously displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The exhibition, curated by Oren Sagiv, Ada Karmi-Melamede, and Dan Price, examines a period of modern architecture that emerged during the British Mandate period in Palestine (1917-1948). This particular interpretation of the International Style established a cohesive vernacular that not only altered the architectural and urban context but also revealed the social values that helped to adapt modernism to the region. Focused on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, the exhibition consists primarily of archival photographs and interpretive ink drawings on mylar that were collected by Karmi-Melamede and Price and were originally featured in their book, Architecture in Palestine during the British Mandate, 1917–1948. The focus of the exhibition is on the transformative process of developing of a new state by blending the urban tissue of a foreign style with the particularities of local conditions. The show will be on view today, August 31, through November 18, 2017.
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Meet the German landscape architecture firm Maier that specializes in skateparks from Palestine to Peru

German landscape architecture firm Maier Landschaftsarchitektur has designed a very colorful addition to Bethlehem, a town you'd be forgiven for foremost associating with the birthplace of a certain Biblical character. Built with the support of charities Skate-Aid and SOS Children's Villages and on the latter's village grounds in the area, the skatepark aims to install feelings of "joy" and "happiness" in the troubled area.

The park is split in two, comprising two bowls, one open and the other closed. The park gains an increased lifespan thanks to its rolling landscape that protects it from damage. Currently, around 126 children reside in the SOS Children's village in east Bethlehem, an area which has been subject to political instability, prevailing violence, high unemployment, and increased poverty.

The freedom to play is an important part of any childhood and so Maier, lead by German landscape architect Ralf Maier, hopes to give the children of the village that chance. Fortunately, skating, as a recreation, has no religious or political affiliations embedded within the sport. Neither are there any allegiances with common enemies—like with the Giants and the Dodgers, for example. Subsequently it's an easier way to unify communities such as the SOS Children's Village. 

Working with Skate-Aid, SOS Children’s Villages, and Betonlandschaften (concrete landscapes) Maier has been able to install skate parks all over the world, across Germany, Africa, to Palestine and even Peru.

In Kigali, Rwanda, another skatepark was completed as recently as 2016. Here a mini-ramp, and ledges and curbs for grinding have been included to cater for all abilities. Meanwhile, an existing tree is the focal point of the space. Located in the middle of the park, it acts as a "volcano" surrounded at the base by curved concrete so skateboarders can interact with it.

In an email, Ralf Maier said that a "key aspect" was the "painting of skatepark with the logo of skate-aid. It gives the park colorful nuances and keeps a picture in your mind."

The same principle was also applied to the skatepark in Bethlehem. In this case, a group of young artists from aptART (Awareness & Prevention Through Art) complimented the skatepark with a splash of color. The vibrant hues employed on the curvaceous concrete enliven the space which would otherwise be suspect to anonymity, fading into the gray surroundings of the vicinity.

Here, the children have a place that is both visually and physically stimulating, but more importantly, have a place to call their own.

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The Palestinian Museum opens, but with no exhibits

Situated on the West Bank north of Jerusalem, The Palestine Museum has officially opened, only one key feature is missing: the exhibits. Using white Bethlehem limestone to form angular volumes that rise up from the rugged site, the museum is designed by Dublin-based firm Heneghan Peng. Sitting on land gifted from the local Birzeit University, the $60 million project has had, much like its surroundings, endured a rocky journey. Initially conceived in 1997, political turbulence has stopped and stalled the museum's progress, however, some two decades on, it is finally here. The only thing left to do now is to fill it. Interestingly, one museum that did open in that timeframe (in 1999) was the Jewish Museum by Daniel Libeskind in Berlin. This, like Heneghan Peng's, opened without any exhibits and in fact remained that way for some two years. Attracting much attention, many critics even called for the museum to remain empty such was the power of its spatial qualities. The same however, has not yet been said of The Palestine Museum, though its emptiness could potentially be seen as some form of commentary on its locality. Nonetheless, exhibits are on the way and its inaugural exhibition Never Part is set to showcase artefacts of Palestinian refugees. Even this, though, has been delayed after a dispute between former director Jack Persekian and the museum’s board. The building itself, despite residing in a rocky location, actually sits on terracing intended to reflect the stepped nature of the agricultural landscape, something the museum's chair, Omar al-Qattan has described as "symbolically critical." al-Qattan also commented that Palestinians were “so in need of positive energy” that the museum—even in opening exhibition-less—was worth it. Covering only 37,673 square feet, the building will hold a climate-controlled gallery space, classrooms, offices, and an amphitheater, along with the usual amenities including a cafeteria with outdoor seating and a gift shop. Further construction is also penned to be finished within the next ten years, adding 107,639 square feet which will accommodate more galleries. For the moment, the museum's primary exhibition space, as Oliver Wainwright of The Guardian reports, remains a windowless hall punctuated only by wheelbarrows, cement mixers, and prints of architectural drawings smeared in Arabic, answers to “What is Palestine?” “Oxygen,” says one. “A heavy load,” says another. “Goats scattered on a hillside,” reads a third. Come June 1, whether it is filled or not, the museum will be opened to the public and free of charge - so there can be no complaints of getting your money's worth.
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2013 Aga Khan Award winners improve quality of life

From an Islamic cemetery in Austria to a 330-meter bridge in North Africa, the five recipients of the 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture each address a concern within their culture to improve quality of life. Awarded every three years since its 1977 initiation, the competition grants a collective $1 million to a number of projects that exist in areas with a significant Muslim population. Each project must be culturally receptive and increased merit is given to those that use local resources in ways that may motivate analogous ventures in the future. The 2013 Aga Khan Award winners are as follows: Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum, Sudan From AK Award and Studio Tamassociati:
The Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery consists of a hospital with 63 beds and 300 local staff, with a separate Medical Staff Accommodation Compound sleeping 150 people. The centre is built as a pavilion in a garden with both primary buildings organised around large courtyards. The hospital block is of the highest technical standard with complex functions including three operating theatres optimally placed in relation to the diagnostics laboratories and ward. Mixed modes of ventilation and natural light enable all spaces to be homely and intimate yet secure. Seeing the abandoned containers that had been used to transport construction materials for the Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery, the architects were inspired to reuse them to house the centre’s staff. Ninety 20-foot containers form the accommodation block, each unit consisting of 1.5 containers, with a bathroom and small veranda facing the garden. Seven 40-foot containers are occupied by a cafeteria and services. Insulation is through an ‘onion system’ of 5-centimetre internal insulating panels and an outer skin comprising a ventilated metal roof and bamboo blinds. A solar farm powers the water-heating system.
Revitalization of Birzeit Historic Centre in Birzeit, Palestine From AK Award and Riwaq - Centre for Architectural Conservation:
This five-year project, part of a rehabilitation master plan initiated by Riwaq, has transformed the decaying town of Birzeit, created employment through conservation and revived vanishing traditional crafts in the process. Community involvement was encouraged from the start, including local NGOs, the private sector, owners, tenants and users, all working with the municipality. Both historic buildings and public spaces have been rehabilitated into community activity hubs. Replaced sections of wall remain distinguishable from the original structures, without harming architectural coherence. Lost features were replaced where there was clear evidence for their former appearance, such as floor tiles with Palestinian motifs. Affordable traditional techniques and local materials were used throughout. Where no historical models were available, new elements were made in a bold contemporary spirit.
Rabat-Salé Urban Infrastructure Project in Morocco From AK Award and Marc Mimram Architecture:
Linking Rabat and Salé to form an urban hub, the Hassan II Bridge and its associated access works relieve both cities’ historic sites and populations of atmospheric and sound pollution. The design respects the overwhelming horizontality of the built and natural environments, allowing Rabat’s 12th-century Hassan Tower to retain its vertical dominance of the skyline. The concrete supports, in subtly varying arced forms, are deliberately delicate and lace-like in appearance. Besides providing transport connections, the structure also offers an urban roof over the alluvial plain of the Bouregreg River, creating a protected public space for markets and leisure activities.
Rehabilitation of Tabriz Bazaar in Tabriz, Iran From AK Award and ICHTO East Azerbaijan Office:
The Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex was officially protected in 1975 and has been covered by special stewardship measures until 2010, when it was added to the World Heritage List. The complex covers 27 hectares with over 5.5 kilometres of covered bazaars. Three different protection areas have been established (a nominated area, a buffer zone and a landscape zone), subject to special regulations incorporated into the planning instruments. The management framework is based on the participation of the ‘bazaaris’, together with municipal authorities and ICHTO’s Tabriz Bazaar Base. Since 2000, numerous complexes within the bazaar have been rehabilitated with the participation of the owners and tenants. Infrastructure has been improved and public facilities have been built.The Tabriz Bazaar is a unique example of urban conservation and development project in which heritage plays a catalyst role in rejuvenating the tangible and intangible memory of the historic city of Tabriz.
Islamic Cemetery in Altach, Austria From AK Award and Bernardo Bader Architects:
The Cemetery serves Vorarlberg, the industrialized westernmost state of Austria, where over eight percent of the population is Muslim. It finds inspiration in the primordial garden, and is delineated by roseate concrete walls in an alpine setting, and consists of five staggered, rectangular grave-site enclosures, and a structure housing assembly and prayer rooms. The principal materials used were exposed reinforced concrete for the walls and oak wood for the ornamentation of the entrance facade and the interior of the prayer space. The visitor is greeted by and must pass through the congregation space with its wooden latticework in geometric Islamic patterns. The space includes ablution rooms and assembly rooms in a subdued palette that give onto a courtyard. The prayer room on the far side of the courtyard reprises the lattice-work theme with Kufic calligraphy in metal mesh on the ‘qibla’ wall.