Award-Winning Architect Hani Hassan to Join Charrette in West Bank

23:39 Jun 15 2011 Al Aqaba

SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA, June 15, 2011 (WAFA) – Palestinian award-winning architect, Hani Hassan, is joining the design collaborative to be held in the West Bank village of al-Aqaba, according to a press release by the California-based NGO Rebuilding Alliance published Wednesday.

The villagers believe that sustainable design, supported by people throughout the world, will lift the Israeli threat of demolition of their entire village dwellings, said the release.

'Al-Aqaba village symbolizes the struggle of thousands of families in the Palestinian Territory for a better life. A life with freedom and dignity starts with rebuilding their demolished homes, designing new homes that reflect their culture, dreams and hopes,” said Hassan, who won the European Center's 2010 International Architecture Award for his energy-efficient Desert House in Jericho.

“I feel that my mission is architecture making peace,' he said.

Al- Aqaba, one of the 149 Palestinian villages in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley now facing demolition orders, seeks to hold a design collaborative over three weeks in July so that villagers can start building their homes in September.

“Visualizing the long term impact on the environment, life of people and buildings is where we start the design process,” explained Hassan. “Recognizing potentials and challenges, imagining possibilities, envisioning the energy of the realized project, this is where good architecture takes shape.”

Palo Alto California architect Fred Bisharat confirmed, “The intent of achieving such a project and overseeing the completion against all odds is very plausible. Palestinians through their hard work, with the help of such organizations as Rebuilding Alliance and the aid of countries who are concerned with human rights, Must start to build their homes on their own land in an orderly and businesslike manner.”

Currently, Palestinian families are not being permitted to build on their own land in that 60% of the West Bank solely administered by Israel. Since 1967 the Israeli army demolished over 24,800 Palestinian homes, displaced more than 180,000 people, and built Israeli-only settlements on land that belongs to Palestinian families.

Demolition orders now blanket the Jordan Valley. This man-made policy can be changed, starting with Al-Aqaba. Families, ready to build homes despite the risks, need good design, mortgage financing, and solid advocacy to build trust and a future, said the release.

Rebuilding Alliance asked people everywhere to donate online for the project called, “Rebuilding a Future in Palestine!” at during the matching grant competition.
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