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> 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
|Hebron: Rehabilitation and Reuse of Residential Buildings in the Old City
This Week In Palestine
By Hebron Rehabilitation Committee
The old city of Hebron was originally built for residential purposes. The architectural structure of the city was designed to fulfil the needs and match the lifestyle of residents in a manner compatible with their traditions and social customs. In addition to residential buildings that make up most of the old city, there are public-service buildings such as markets, schools, public baths, almshouses, pools, water canals, and others.
Recently it has become necessary to preserve the historical significance of the old city of Hebron, to face Israeli settlement expansion, and to design a plan to rehabilitate the old city and reuse it. The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee is currently developing the general framework for rehabilitating old residential units, whether they are apartments in buildings or independent houses. The framework seeks to provide privacy, basic services, proper environment in terms of ventilation and lighting, and easy movement of residents inside their living quarters.
Front and back yards are being converted into apartments to accommodate the expanding number of family members and to provide housing for the increasing population in Hebron. Since house yards were not designed as living spaces, the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee has reconstructed them to become proper living quarters for people. Yards were divided into separate rooms, including kitchens and bathrooms, and supplied with all the basic necessities such as electricity and water. Each yard, or new apartment, has a separate entrance that provides its residents with privacy, and windows are structured in a manner that does not expose residents to neighbours around them.
Ancient buildings in the old city of Hebron lack proper ventilation and lighting and, therefore, while undertaking their reconstruction, the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee makes sure that the entire space inside the buildings or apartments gets a reasonable amount of fresh air and sunlight. Some rooms even have skylights to provide the rooms with clean air and light.
In spite of the small size of some apartments, careful measures were taken to ensure the free and easy movement of residents. These measures include enlarging the entrance to the apartment, widening the openings of doors, straightening uneven stairs, and removing stairs that may impede movement.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction of buildings and houses in the old city of Hebron is a huge project. In spite of the touch of modernity that the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee is trying to give to old residential locales in the city, it fully realizes that their distinguishing and special historical and cultural features should be preserved. Mastabas or outdoor stone benches, stone staircases, domes, old doors, wooden cupboards, and old tiles that characterize old buildings remain untouched. Since these are a main part of the heritage of Hebron, they are renewed for functional purposes.
The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee was founded in 1996 through a presidential decree of the late President Yasser Arafat. The committee may be reached at email@example.com.
This Week in Palestine