The Palestinian Parliament

The Architecture Of The Palestinian State In The Post-Intifada Era Exemplified Through A Palestinian Parliament
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Designer(s) : Salem Shobaki & Mosab Suliman

University : Birzeit University

Tutor(s) : Dr. Shaden Awad

Abstract

A thoroughly-structured plan in the early 1990s led to the demolition of the efforts and sacrifices of the First Intifada, but what if that plan never worked?

Our project suggests an alternative reality, where the power shifts didn’t happen, when the Intifada stood tall, and spread to the occupied areas of 1948, leading to a complete liberation of Palestine and the recreation of an independent state over the whole of Historic Palestine. Creating an autonomous relationship generated between the different layers of­ society, driving the state towards an autonomy o­ power, a kind of controlled sel­f-government on the inside, carrying along the support o­f the outside ­for development and external connections.

A Palestinian Parliament would’ve been an inevitable result of that creation, as well as its location in Jerusalem, the Palestinian capital.

The Project

The Parliament sits on top of the Mount of Olives, adjacent to different areas of East Jerusalem, casting different levels of importance on the area, such as the site’s closeness to the marginalized residential areas of East Jerusalem, which sheds light on those areas and encourages better future development regarding them. The parliament’s location engages the surrounding residents tremendously through being the physical connection -through the construction of the pedestrian bridge and the Intifada Memorial Park as part of the project- between East Jerusalem and the Old Town, making the site become part of their everyday journey to the centre of the City.

Another importance, related directly to the Parliament complex, is the 1964 Seven Arches Hotel constructed by the Jordanian government. The Parliament is built in place of the hotel while keeping the historically significant part of it, the main hall that housed the First National Congress of the PLO in 1965, re-using it as the main lobby of the Parliament, and a part of the open area of the project, as well.

This proposal of a Palestinian Parliament in the Post-Intifada era carries two main strong constructs. The first is the belief in a progression following liberation, translated in the physical presence of the parliament, and the use of modern materials and construction techniques in proof of that progression.

The second concept suggests the translation of the social values strongly followed by the community of the First Intifada. The ones that, through conscious implementation, led the Intifada to be one of the biggest and most effective events in the history of the Palestinian Revolution.

The Architecture

The spatial configuration of the main parliament hall is designed to grant the highest level of power to the people. This concept is seen in the accessibility of the people to the parliament. The public is allowed to be present on all physical levels of the parliament building, claiming control and transparency of the legislation of laws. Because it should be designed by the people, for the people.