Showing 1 - 20 from 25 entries
> Al Jib and the Wall
> Hebron: Rehabilitation and Reuse of Residential...
> Un-inventing the Bab al-Khalil tombs
> The Wall in Jerusalem: “Military Conquest by...
> Al-Manara Square: Monumental Architecture and Power
> The Israeli ‘Place’ in East Jerusalem
> Architecture of Dependency: Senan Abdelqader
> The Politics and Poetics of Place: The Baramki House
> Architecture in Ramallah
> Sammara Public Baths
> Memoirs Engraved in Stone: Palestinian architecture
> Villa Salameh
> The Jabber neighbourhood in the old city of Hebron
> Outside kitchen
> Wood used in building
> Doorways: Arched and straight
> Modern way of building houses
> Storeys for the next generation
> Sultan Suleiman and Jerusalem’s Old City Walls
> Protecting Historic Town and Village Centres
When speaking about the region 's architecture, it is less problematic to talk about architecture in Palestine than about "Palestinian architecture." The first refers to all architectural styles found in Palestine from the different historic periods - whether Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, Crusader, Ayoubid, Mamluk, Ottoman, or British Mandate-until today. Moreover, it should be remembered that these architectural styles are often found in cities rather than in villages. In the case of Palestine -which played a relatively marginal political and economic role in comparison to Cairo, Damascus and Baghdad - architectural styles are found mostly in Jerusalem (Mamluk and Ottoman), Acre, and to a lesser extent in the town of Nablus. Architectural styles are often also related to "noble architecture ", that is, to architecture of the political elite and the urban no- tables.
In rural areas, one can perhaps feel more at ease talking about Palestinian vernacular architecture or what is known as "architecture with no architects." In this case vernacular architecture seems to have prevailed for many centuries. Until the mid twentieth century, the typical Palestinian peasant house maintained its architectural characteristics and features. Both spatial organization as well as functional divisions (reflecting gender and kinship separation) went through critical physical transformations as the village was economically transformed from an inwardly looking agrarian into and outward-looking wage labor community.
The first two decades of the British Mandate (1920s and 1930s) were characterized by rapid urban growth and the first urban sprawl as important residential areas formed away from historic urban centers. The lavishly built, individualized urban villas were highly decorated and elegantly designed by local architects. These villa-like mansions reflected the new life style of an affluent social class that was in formation in most Palestinian towns around this time.
The British Mandate invested a great deal in Palestine due to its geographic location as well as its important political role. The Mandate Government provided many jobs for civil servants, police and schoolteachers. The improved security conditions, the infrastructure, such as roads and the railway, connecting Jaffa to Jerusalem (1893) increased tourism and encouraged investments in Palestine. The citrus plantations and the ports of Haifa and Jaffa also provided new job opportunities. It was also around this time that Palestinian immigrants to both Americas started sending back money to their families in Palestine so as to build the rich immigrant mansions. The eclectic architectural styles of many of these mansions (the Jasir Palace in Bethlehem and the Shahwan Palace in Beit Jala) are a witness to the European influence that came through the two Americas. For example, the use of sculpture in the two mansions is certainly a western influence as we rarely find sculpture in other Palestinian mansions. However, the sculptures were carved by local stone carvers.
Here, we are dealing with urban mansions as opposed to rural mansions. Historically and architecturally, urban houses differed in form and function from the typical peasant village architecture. While the spatial organization of the village and the house reflected the social and economic life of peasants and the agrarian community, urban architecture reflected the life of traders and the commercial community. Up until the beginnings of the British Mandate (1923), these differences were quite distinct. However, by the 1930s a new architectural "hybrid" which belonged to both towns and villages started emerging. For example, the "villa" type was a new architectural style which existed in villages going through a process of urbanization as well as in towns.
Text and photographs taken from Memoirs Engraved in Stone: Palestinian Urban Mansions (2001); a joint endeavor by RIWAQ Center for Architectural Conservation and the Institute of Jerusalem Studies for the production of a Monograph Series entitled The History of Architecture in Palestine.
This Week in Palestine