A Humanized Architecture: A Center for Education, Culture and Heritage In Akkar Al Atika

The project aims at raising awareness to the importance of the rural life, the value of the heritage and the sense of being rooted and belonging to a place, through the use of local expertise, material, and responding to the local physical and environmental needs.
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Designer(s) : Wael Daher

University : AZM University

Tutor(s) : Dr. Tarek Azzaz and Dr. Sany Jamal

As a graduating student of architecture and based on my understanding of my responsibility as a future architect, my project addresses a pressing lived experience in my hometown Akkar El Atika, a humble village with a dormant past and a neglected glorious heritage, suffering from an ongoing drifting away from the roots, oblivion to the history of the village and its identity. The project is stemmed from my interest in architecture that is addressing humans in the first place, rather than the architecture that aims to exhibit and distinguishes itself. It is an architecture that digs deep into the past and extracts lessons to create a continuity and reestablishes the harmonious sense of belonging to what our ancestors have left behind as our inheritance in techniques of construction, spatial definitions and cultural heritage as it sustains an active public realm supported by the built environment.

My village, Akkar Al Atika, which gives its name to the Akkar district has lost its historical importance and sadly lost as well its uniqueness due to the detachment of the majority of Akkarian people from their history and the neglect of heritage and traditions leading to an architecture with a sole purpose to provide locals’ immediate needs and responding to economical restraint condition and traditionally built unique old buildings, which defined the rural character to the region, are rapidly disappearing from the rural fabric and the village is losing every character and lends itself to a pseudo urban neutral forest of concrete boxes.

The strategy in solving this alienation and absence of awareness of the value of the heritage and identity of the village is to research and look back in time into the local building traditions that have survived the years before they were lost as it focuses is the ancestors’ know-how, the lessons learnt from a study of the vernacular and local remaining expertise,  blending harmoniously the new masses within the context, offering flat roofs as places of gathering and meeting, allowing the natural light, the stone materiality to create unique spatial experiences that fuse softly between the exterior and the interior. The project investigates mainly how can we can progress to a humanized architecture that fits in Akkar al Akita and becomes a precedent to follow in the region helping the villagers to know and value their history and sharpen awareness of a heritage long forgotten and buried under our feet.

The design proposes to enhance the role of the mosque and redesign it into a place of tranquillity and worship, and it attempts to blend the new mass within the agricultural steps, underground, where the retaining stone wall plays the role of exterior and interior. In addition, having the rooftop is accessible as an open platform, and it’s shifted from the wall to make light penetrate the inside spaces.