Revitalisation of Birzeit Historic Centre - Aga Khan Award for Architecture
Aga Khan Development Network
 

Revitalisation of Birzeit Historic Centre

Revitalisation of Birzeit Historic Centre
Location: Birzeit, Palestine (West Asia)
Architect: Riwaq - Centre for Architectural Conservation, Ramallah, Palestine
Client: Birzeit Municipality
Completed: 2009 ongoing
Design: 2007-2011
Site size: 40’640 m²

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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.

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