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Title: Architecture of the everyday : a design response for the Gaza Strip, Palestine
Author: Al Qudwa, Salem Yousuf
ISNI:       0000 0005 0292 1791
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2020
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This research by design project draws on the notion of the 'Architecture of the Everyday' in order to investigate the relationship between the active and on-going situation of conflict and the changing social needs of occupants in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. Gaza is a setting with profound challenges and opportunities and as such it could be seen as a laboratory for an architecture of scarcity, which could address in a unique way the complex social dynamics of this location. The thesis aims to design a vision of and articulate a model for the post-conflict reconstruction of marginalised communities in the Gaza Strip based on the principles of the architecture of the everyday, which is the core of the research. The principles for an architecture of the everyday are abstracted from a study of vernacular and generative architecture. Having set out a framework which defines the architecture of the everyday, I argue that examining Gaza's socio-cultural context through such a framework does not only restore the personal agency of beneficiaries, but also gives rise to creative possibilities in the built environment where few such possibilities exist currently. The search for specific architectural solutions in the reconstruction of human settlements in the Gaza Strip thus provides the template for my doctoral project. A design-based case study of the Rehabilitation of Damaged Houses project in the Gaza Strip is featured as a critical appraisal of one of my related projects undertaken in Gaza. The thesis further draws on my architectural background, linking emergency and architectural site-work to fieldwork research and thus exploring the potential of social and physical mapping as research tools. A further 'house design prototype' for a representative low-income extended family then acts a background to discussing the real issues involved in everyday architectural design in the Gaza Strip. More specifically, through design by participation, this research project seeks to address and account for inhabitants' needs, perceptions, appropriate affordable materials, and self-building construction techniques. By enabling interaction with participants in their homes, it was ensured that the participatory design sessions that produced the data for this prototype design took place in natural settings. In this way, the requirement for inclusiveness, specifically concerning the low-income extended families participating in the study, was also fulfilled. The findings from the participatory design sessions are analysed in relation to families' domestic place-making processes and shown to inform a proposed house design prototype. The objective of this design process is to propose a dynamic living environment instead of a rigid human storage facility that accommodates intergenerational households in conditions where land and resources are often scarce. The house design prototype is thus seen as being informed by the relation of socio-cultural routines to physical settings in the Gaza context. In presenting and analysing such a house prototype, I hope to challenge conventional attitudes toward home reconstruction and to emphasize how architecture not only provides a sense of stability and protection from conflict but also restores social agency that thus finds expression in a variety of forms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral