|M.Sc Student||Mira Deeb|
|Subject||A Search for Arab Architectural Modernism in Palestine Space|
In the 1950s and 1960s
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Nitzan-Shiftan Alona|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The 1950s and 1960s have been studied as the Israeli nation-building years, during which the centralized state constructed numerous cities and neighborhoods for Jewish immigrants. Although extensive literature has recently been dedicated to the architecture of this Jewish national project, almost no literature has covered the concurrent Palestinian phenomena. This lacuna begs the questions: can we identify “local Arab modernism,” what are its characteristics, and what is the regional context in which it was developed?
This study probes the emergence of architectural modernism in Palestine by studying four modern villas that were constructed in the Galilee and in the West Bank during the 1950s and 1960s - villa Srouji in Nazareth by architect Anis Srouji, villa Qutub in Jerusalem by architect Sayed Karim, villa Canaan in Nablus and villa Salty in Ramallah by architect Hani Arafat. The villas were commissioned by the upper social layer of the Palestinian society?families who were able to secure the necessary land and funds after the Nakba (the dispossession of Palestinians after the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948).
The study follows the young architects who studied in Europe and the Arab countries and created a network of Middle Eastern knowledge that crossed the borders between the Israel, the Jordanian West Bank, and the centers in Beirut, Amman and Cairo. The architectural analysis of the villas, their formal language, functional schemes, construction methods and materials, reveal the efficacy of this network. In Palestine it suggests that as long as the military rule was effective, we can find a greater architectural unity between Palestinians in the mountainous region on both sides of the border than between Palestinian and Israeli modernisms that were built in Israeli territory.
The study explores the establishment of the architectural profession in Palestine against the development of modern architecture in the Middle East. Based on this background it examines the four villas through field trips, interviews with architects and villa owners and through Hebrew and Arabic materials collected in Israel, Palestine and Jordan. The analysis of four villas points to the architectural characteristics of a modern Middle Eastern style that was not yet researched in the Palestinian context.