Souq Al-Jora: a sustainable traditional market

Souq Al-Jora is a sustainable traditional market aiming to develop an effective and cohesive society, in this project we are working on a "spirit" with the concept of regeneration on three levels (social, economic, and cultural regeneration).
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Designer(s) : Rania Al-Zyoud & Hussein Saeed

University : Al Al-Bayt university

Tutor(s) : Dr.Rami Alshwabkeh

The site is located in Zarqa, Jordan’s second-largest city in terms of population. The project is located in one of Zarqa’s neighbourhoods known as the “Maasum neighbourhood حي معصوم الشعبي ” which is distinguished by its high population density and compactness of its buildings. Following the second Gulf War, the area was settled. As a result, it has become the home of several popular catering markets. The main market is known as ”Souq Aljora سوق الجورة ” which means “The Hole Market” since it is dug into a mountain and bordered on three sides by a wall with a maximum height of 25 meters.

‘Souq Aljora’ has a strategic placement between the main attractive poles “the old town, new town” which promotes its livability by promoting the quality of public areas. It is primarily a commercial district with informal activity occurring during the week but peaking on weekends. It contains a specified area where the government regulates and allows informality, while the majority of the vendors are located on the sidewalks. The lack of resting facilities and gathering areas has impacted the concept of the market being part of the public realm, discouraging pedestrian movement through the Souq roots. As a result, there are worries regarding the safety, environmental considerations, and comfort of vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow, particularly during peak weekends.

Our strategy was to focus on the traditional Souq’s key qualities, such as cultural, functional, environmental, and socioeconomic values, which reflect the main pillars for successful sustainable development. This work depicts architecture as a tool and a technique for mediating societal problems, reconstructing both the space and the relationships between its users. Architecture is shown as a tool for creating multicultural surroundings and embracing identity differences. We took advantage of the Market’s location on the border between communities (Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian, and Iraqi) to provide a “social catalyst” to bring them back together.

The city is regenerated by preserving the old market and improving gathering spaces with plazas and courts. Traditional public squares encourage a high level of social contact amongst people, while art galleries and plazas can serve as urban lungs for development. The Souq is an important node suited for public use.

The market connects two distinct areas at different heights, making the structure into an urban connector. The established area acts as a platform for neighbourly exchanges, facilitates commercial, intellectual, and social interchange, it links different age groups, fosters interpersonal relationships, and builds local communities. As a result, it has the potential to give the regenerated neighbourhood the character of a vibrant cultural market.

CONCEPT :

Our project is telling a story about Maasoum’s community. ”From locals to locals” it will be a collaborative effort between us as designers and the community to enable them to design their space”Co-designers”, start the story from the social need and reflect these needs on the design.

”Sustainability as a complete concept is not only about saving energy, the first building needs to be socially useful and improve the neighborhood”. That is the goal of this market; it will be more than a market hall; but likely a social gathering place for the neighborhood. The biggest challenge in this project is the lack of public places in the city completely, so our project will be a rescue for the informal settlement and we will find public space where there wasn’t, How?

  • The design area will be attractive at different times of the day, week, and year: in the spring, there will be early fruit and vegetable fairs, a breakfast market, and neighbourhood meetings; in the summer, there will be film screenings, outdoor concerts, vintage car shows, and outdoor gymnastics; and in the fall, there will be an olive market, a hobby market, and a chestnut market.
  • The major design goal is to create a practical and aesthetically pleasing public area. where a wide range of activities might take place (market hall, performances, art exhibitions, meetings, dinner, etc) Before proposing a building, we felt it was necessary to provide a flexible community structure capable of developing social links and producing a sense of belonging. Hopefully, by providing the setting for a continuous interaction of people through trade and social events, the market square can contribute to the future economic, social, environmental, and culturally sustainable development of the area.