BZU graduate wins competition on reconstructing destroyed Palestinian villages

Birzeit University graduate and teacher assistant at the Architectural Engineering Department Hussam Barham, has been named the first place winner of “The Competition for the Reconstruction of Destroyed Palestinian Villages” in London. The award is given to the best design that reconstruct Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948.

Barham presented a reconstruction design to Al Tantura Village, located in Haifa district. The reconstruction idea is to maintain the village’s footprint and historical identity, but in a modern way. Barham suggests that the new reconstructed houses are built on their same locations, and the historical remains for the village should be preserved. Taking into consideration, the buildings that are built by the Israeli Occupation to be reused as guest houses for the refugees who would come for a visit with guests, and the seaport is constructed to have small boars for fishing with storage spaces for fish.

The second prize went to Architecture student from the Islamic University of Gaza Zakariya Al Assar, who also presented a reconstruction design for Al Tantura village. Two other students from Birzeit University, Mahran Abul Humos and Rula Shaheen got a commendation by the competition jury for their strong designs.   

In addition to the participants from Birzeit University, two other Palestinian universities were invited to participate which are An-Najah National University and the Islamic University of Gaza.  The participants are students of the graduating class in Architecture in the three universities. They were asked to select a village of their choice from Palestine Land Society database of 500 village files.

Coordinators for the competition was Dr. Samar Nazer from Birzeit University, Dr. Ali Abdulhamid and Dr. Suhair Ammar from Islamic University.

The competition is judged by an international jury from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and the Arab world. The lecturer at the Department of Architectural Engineering at Birzeit University Nadia Habash, and the Palestinian Architect Rasem Badran were part of the jury.

 The competition is organized by Palestine Land Society (PLS) under the supervision of Dr. Salman Abu Sitta the president of PLS with the assistance of Palestinian architect Antoine Raffoul and administered by PART within Westminster University.

The Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948 depopulated 675 towns and villages mostly destroyed. Documentation is provided herein for most of the destroyed villages with the purpose of redesigning these villages on the same village site but with updated conditions of population and services.