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City Design (MA)

DS1 - Underground Palestine


Underground Palestine II posits heritage sites as sites of urban struggle and those that are weaponised for settler colonialism and occupation. Archaeological sites, and sites of cultural heritage, are generally understood as frozen in a moment of ruination. By highlighting those spaces as living and breathing landscapes today, and questioning the value systems and assumed linear time embedded in the classics and archaeological discourse, the studio embraces a delinear and decolonised methodology in order to contest the prevalent instrumentalisation of archaeological sites. This year, the studio case study is the city of Akka (Acre) in 1948 Occupied Palestine. The students’ projects explore questions of intergenerationality of the city, the systems of violence at play, and the social structures that continue to repair and resist behind the old city’s walls. The design propositions work in low and high tech, using both physical making techniques that require care and precision such as Palestinian traditional tile making and soap casting, as well as 3D scanning of the stone wall textures and photogrammetry to develop a tool to reject facial recognition softwares within the city walls to protect the Palestinian residents. Each project deals with the scale of an object and the city simultaneously, constantly zooming in and out to maintain a spatial relationship between the intervention, the residents, and the city. The work was elevated through constant conversations with the community on the ground including the fishermen, Akka 5000, a group of activists, archaeologists, and chefs from the city.

Image: Ahmed Al Qasimi and Yue Dai-and Not For Sale: A 3D scan of Palestinian home within Akka's old city walls currently targeted by Israeli developers.