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GAZA's Remains Should Stand

Allow Gaza’s remains to stand and set the scene for recovery, clear the rubble, and make the housing, land and property safe. Help Gaza’s people start the recovery processes with the past legible and accountable.


Resist the temptations to clean the slate, sanitise and build a new set of soulless unfamiliar buildings in the hope that modernisation and a democratic peace process with address the horrors of the past.  Help communities rebuild, within, alongside and inclusive of the devastation. I hope the stakeholders allow the past to inform the future symbolically, theoretically, visually and physically, starting the peace process with clear intentions and an approach that can be understood throughout Gaza’s architecture and its changed sense of place.


To the UN-usual suspects of transition, recovery and reconstruction, I'm not advocating some sort of Disney-like façade retention, I’m suggesting a meaningful and sophisticated integration of meaning and memory, a layered statement of resilience and recognition, a responsive approach to the entanglement of social trauma, dislocation, disorientation and hope reflected in architecture and attitude. An approach that doesn't dwell on the past but takes ownership of it, recognising it and acknowledging the fact that the past is an important part of any positive future, whilst silencing or ignoring it, leads to an unsustainable peace.

I advise 5 types of approach to Gaza's damaged buildings:

  1. Intervention   A primary architectural addition respecting the site's value and integrity an approach that ensures that both intervention and the existing structure are easily read as different.

  2. Complex Intervention   Several new smaller architectural additions or approaches such as conservation or restoration. The new and existing architecture is interlaced but easily identifiable while creating a useful set of new values

  3. Symbiotic   Where a damaged building hosts a new structure which exis ts independently. The new architectural elements built within the boundaries of the building will add to the building’s profile, but the fit is not exact and should the architecture be removed, then the building would revert to its original state. The advantages of a symbiotic approach are many in that they don’t interfere with the existing building’s structural elements and that they are removable at no risk to the built fabric. An added and equally important advantage to this approach is the ability to control and maintain a set of independent internal conditions. A symbiotic approach offers a great deal of flexibility and control.

  4. Prosthetic   The Prosthetic approach uses architectural elements to replace missing parts of the building, thus optimising functionality and durability.  The prosthetic system does not attempt to fit or conform to the host building but instead will draw a clear separation between what is new and what is original. The protective or enhancing elements are designed in response to the host building’s missing or damaged attributes and will dictate the spatial and programmatic behaviour of the structure’s new use. The original structure is once again understood as a whole, it is pieced together through contemporary contrasting materials that exaggerate the differences whilst facilitating the building’s alteration.   Architectural stents are modern elements applied within an existing or damaged area of the building to prevent, or counteract further deterioration, or to remedy circulation issues. This aspect of the prosthetic system can also be seen as temporary. The temporary stent may be used to support and protect the existing structure whilst more profound alterations are taking place.

  5. Insertion Where an existing damaged building has a new autonomous element fitted within the confines of structural envelope, the dimensions of which are completely dictated by those of the surrounding host structure. As the system title suggests, Insertion is the introduction of a new architectural element into, beside or between an existing structure or structures and is read as independent and more often than not expressed in contrast too the original construction materials. Although independent, the new addition should conform to its environment in dimension, scale, mass, and the host buildings physical properties. An insertion has an added benefit in that difficult service facilitation and interfaces can been overcome. Lighting conduit, ventilation, heating and many other aspects of mechanical and electrical equipment can be discretely concealed in-between the existing and its sleeve of new material or indeed within the construction of the insertion itself.


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