Nasser Golzari and Yara Sharif’s work in Birzeit for Riwaq, The Palestinian Centre for Architectural Conservation, has been short listed for an Aga Kahn Award. This five-year project, part of a rehabilitation master plan initiated by Riwaq, has transformed the decaying town of Birzeit, created employment through conservation and revived vanishing traditional crafts in the process. Community involvement was encouraged from the start, including local NGOs, the private sector, owners, tenants and users, all working with the municipality. Both historic buildings and public spaces have been rehabilitated into community activity hubs. Replaced sections of wall remain distinguishable from the original structures, without harming architectural coherence. Lost features were replaced where there was clear evidence for their former appearance, such as floor tiles with Palestinian motifs. Affordable traditional techniques and local materials were used throughout. Where no historical models were available, new elements were made in a bold contemporary spirit. For more information about the project click here.
Golzari and Sharif are founder members of the Palestine Architecture Regeneration Team (PART). Golzari is a PHD student and teaches at the University of Westminster; Sharif completed her PHD with us in 2011. Both are members of NG Architects in London.