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City Design (MA)

Rawi Kammoun

Rawi Kammoun is a London based architect and researcher from Beirut, Lebanon. His work focuses on the use, reuse, and reclamation of urban environments. He is primarily interested in social movements and built interventions as catalysts for urban change. This urban change is achieved by encouraging different demographics and social classes to come together in unconventional or restricted spaces.

Academically, Rawi graduated from the Lebanese American University with a five year bachelor's degree in architecture (BArch) with honours as well as a minor in Islamic Art & Architecture. He also spent a year as an architect and a design lead in a small Beirut based office.

A collage depicting the renders of the Khan el-Umdan hotel which used to be a cultural event centre in Akka.

The fishermen of Akka are facing many difficulties from governmental restrictions, to environmental degradation, and even state sponsored gentrification. This has led an increasing number of them to give up fishing and convert their boats into tour boats for visitors to the city. Fishing is more than just a means to earn money to Akka, the trade has been going on since the city’s inception and has become part of its identity. At one point more than 90% of the city’s population was involved in fishing. But today there are only a handful left.

The project consists of five audio pieces that introduce and detail the struggles of Akkawi fishermen and the methods they have used to overcome adversity. The last episode is a spatial description of the city by these fishermen accompanied by a recommended walk for those that are allowed to visit the city. This audio series will act as a monument to the fishermen and is capable of existing in a space where a physical monument might be taken down or dismantled. The choice for audio was also made because of the significance of radio in areas of political instability as it often becomes the only source of information available.

The audio pieces include found audio from past interviews and archives as well as recorded conversations I had with the fishermen. Some of the background audio is also lifted directly from Akka.

The goal is to reimagine city design as a practice more concerned with deeper understandings of inter and intra personal relationships of citizens to each other, their cities, and the governmental forces at play rather than with built interventions that might alter the urban fabric. It is also an exercise in conducting urban work as someone fundamentally physically disconnected from that urban environment, as I am not allowed to visit Akka. This work seeks to confirm the former while adapting to the limitations posed by the latter and also seeks to act as an acoustic monument to the fishermen of Akka.

Our group's deep dive into Akka was done through the lens of intergenerationality. We sought to understand the city primarily through the stories of its people and landmarks as a testament to continuous living in the city. The video is the result of that preliminary research work that led to the project outcome.


The first episode in the series introduces the city and the project.
The second episode in the series tackles the governmental restrictions imposed on the fishermen. This puts Akka in relation to Palestine as a whole.
The third episode looks into the causes of environmental degradation and its effects on Akkawi fishermen. This puts Akka in relation to its regional neighbours.
The fourth episode is concerned with the gentrification of the Old City of Akka and the effects it has had on the fishermen. This is a deep dive into Akka itself on an urban scale.
The fifth episode is audio descriptions of specific parts of the city by fishermen. The aim is to create a spatial understanding of the city purely through their storytelling.


Audio, original Arabic audio
An English dub playlist of my audio series


Audio, English dub