Nadia Habash: Professor at BZU seeks to preserve our national identity

“Preserving our cultural and natural heritage, keeping it alive and reflecting it in my new designs is what inspires me as an architect,” said Nadia Habash, an adjunct professor at the Architectural Engineering Department at Birzeit University, and the Director of Habash Consulting Engineers.

Habash was born in Jerusalem.  She graduated from the University of Jordan’s School of Architecture in 1982, and got her master’s degree from the School of Architecture at the University of Michigan in 1986.Now she infuses her industry expertise in the continued development of innovative designs in architecture and solutions for architects.

Habash has been the chief designer of several competition-winning projects. Most recently was “Restoring Arraba Palaces,” which was recognized as the best project in the Enterprises category of the Hasib Sabbagh and Said Khoury Award, and was also recognized as the best architectural project in Palestine for the year 2017.

The project is a result of an intensive documentation and research study executed in the old core of Arraba village, specifically on the Abdul-Qader Abdul Hadi Palace, Hussein Abdul Hadi Palace and the Old Main Spine “Al-Qasaba”.

One of the main tasks of this project was to perform the detailed design works needed to restore and rehabilitate the two palaces and the internal old road, the “Qasaba,” leading to them. This included urban design and infrastructure works.

Habash said that she was able to use international standards, issued by the UNESCO and International Council on Monuments and Sites-ICOMOS to document, analyze the archeological, architectural, and design processes. These resources formed one of the core reasons for Habash’s win in the competition.

“Restoring Arabba Palaces” is not the only outstanding accomplishment for Habash. She won the prize for the Outstanding Project in Palestine in 1998 for her design of the water reservoirs located in the old core of Palestinian villages, such as Der Istya and Kufor Abboush.

“I was forbidden from traveling for 28 years, but I was able to engage in the architectural movement around the world, and learn all the updates, through the different workshops, conferences and my academic work at Birzeit University,” Habash added.

Today, Habash is working on a number of projects, including rehabilitating the old city of Al Samou’ in Hebron. Most recently, she presented an architectural design for the Faculty of Arts and Music at Birzeit University.