In its 7th year, the prestigious "Reconstruction of Destroyed Palestinian Villages Competition" has once again celebrated outstanding talent and innovation. Led by the well-known Palestinian historian/geographer, Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, president of Palestine Land Society (هيئة أرض فلسطين), this competition continues to be a platform for showcasing remarkable achievements in the realm of Palestinian architectural and historical preservation.
The winners of this year's competition were selected for their exceptional contributions in the fields of comprehensive research, and innovative design approaches. Their work stands as a testament to their dedication to addressing major issues such as political ecology, displacement, return, and reconstruction, all while challenging and reshaping the colonial narrative that has created Palestine's recent history.
Winners and Projects
Among the winners, the first prize was jointly awarded to Khawla Abu Zaheda from Al-Najah University and the team of Sherin Shaibat and Diala al-Laham from Al-Quds University. Their collaborative efforts focused on the restoration and revival of the coastal village of Tantura in Haifa district, which had been tragically destroyed and ethnically cleansed by Israel. It was also the site of a horrible massacre in which over 200 people were killed and buried in a ditch.
The second prize was awarded to Dina Nazer from Middle East University thanks to its architectural skills in reviving and redesigning the destroyed village of Al-Dawayima in Al Khalil (Hebron) district, yet again it was the site of probably the ugliest massacre in which over 600 people were killed by Israeli soldiers.
A special commendation also went to Bushra Shehade from Al-Najah University for her valuable scheme for the reconstruction of the destroyed village of Qaluniya in Jerusalem district.
The Distinguished Jury
The distinguished British jury, composed of renowned experts in the field of architecture and historical preservation, played a pivotal role in shaping the outcome of this competition. Dr. Nasser Golzari, an award-winning architect, academic, and researcher known for his innovative designs, Dr. Yara Sharif, whose expertise lies in architectural education and practice focusing on empowering the “forgotten” communities, Angela Brady (OBE), a distinguished figure in the architectural British field, and Rim Kalsoum, a prominent architectural assistant and a university lecturer, brought their collective wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.
The jury members not only recognized the creative and innovative approaches of the participants but also appreciated the significance of these projects in shedding light on the historical and architectural heritage of Palestinian villages.
Palestine Reconstruction Architects Association (PRAA)
Furthermore, this year's competition has given rise to the Palestine Reconstruction Architects Association (PRAA). Founded in 2022 through a collaborative effort by a group of young Palestinian architects, PRAA firmly believes in the transformative power of architecture to resurrect the past, reshape the present, and construct a brighter future. One of PRAA's primary goals is to heighten both architectural and national consciousness regarding the Palestinian villages that were tragically destroyed in 1948, towards the ultimate objective of building Future Palestine.