Ecoweek Builds Israeli/Palestinian Peace One Workshop At A Time

ecoweek-brainstormers-2010

ECOWEEK is at it again, this time looking for green building solutions to Tantur, a theological school based in Beit Jala.

ECOWEEK unites budding, newly-minted, and established architects from around the world to sketch modern solutions to enduring challenges. Earlier this year, ECOWEEK – founded by Elias Messinas, an Israeli-Greek green architect – arranged lectures and workshops addressing building projects in Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Negev Desert, and the Biennale of Bat Yam. This past weekend architects gathered for yet another workshop, this time devoted to building a mixed-use cultural and community center for Israelis and Palestinians.

The workshop took place on October 22-23, 2010, during the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) Conference in Beit Jala, West Bank (Palestinian Authority). A group of Israeli, Palestinian, Greek and Italian architects, along with students, brainstormed their way through a series of proposals for what will become the green IPCRI Center at the Tantur Compound in East Jerusalem.

This project is unique for several reasons, among them these two:

Both Israelis and Palestinians can travel to Beit Jala – which lies between Jerusalem and Bethlehem – without having to arrange special permits, making it the perfect location to brew peace.

Located opposite Beit Tzafafa in Jerusalem to the Greek Orthodox monastery of Mar Elias, Tantur, a theological school, is marinated in history and is owned by the Vatican. When the series of architectural workshops are completed, plans will be submitted to both the Tantur Institute and the Vatican for approval.

In the second of a series of workshops devoted to Tantur, architects mulled over whether to retain existing buildings or demolish them in favor of entirely new construction. The building, whether brand new or a hybrid of new and old, will incubate a center for four Israeli-Palestinian peace organizations.

Epaminondas Daskalakis, Elias Messinas, and Ohad Yehieli are the main architects associated with the project, for which another brainstorming session will take place in the summer of 2011.

Third year and up architectural students are invited to participate in what organizers emphasize is a real project, as are students within five years of graduation. Dan Price, Mai Haseba, and Ziad Jallad are also among architects who led the weekend’s discussions.

It’s green and it’s REAL.

For more information, please contact ecoweek[at]ecoweek.org.

More on green building and peace in the Middle East:

Students Redefine Urban Spaces In Three Days and Three Nights

Omar Yousef’s Crowded Architecture

Calling all Young Architects and Grad Students to Join ECOWEEK 2010

image via ECOWEEK 2010

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