Dar AlMajus

Located next to the Nativity square in Bethlehem, the Dar al Majus community house project is a restoration of a historical residential building. The suggested architecture highlights the shift between a domestic use to a public use of the building. As such, new passages are created, new perspectives on the old building appear, and a new covered vaulted space is built. The projected stairs link the four levels together by inhabiting the interior patio of the building. The vault completes the unfinished part of the building while revealing from the street some of the richness of the interior vaulted spaces. The structure of the vaulted space is made out of stone and leans on supports that are either newly built or in strategic positions with regards to the historical building.



Dar Fleifel has an architecture that is resolutely modern because it relies on systems rather than forms. As such, it is more dynamic and potentially adaptable, transformable. The richness of its diversity is a result of the use of typological spaces. In that sense, it is a gem of ingenious flexibility. Generic spaces stand out because they are abstract, they can adapt or transform, they can have any size. Understanding the extreme modernity of Palestinian cities’ architectural vocabulary helps better seize the scale of the city and the relevance of questioning its contemporariness. It leaves no room for static, romantic, folkloric reproductions of ancient architecture: it calls for an architecture that can adjust, change or reinvent itself in light of potential forthcoming new scenarios.
In that context, the project of Dar AlMajus community center focuses on the capacity of the existing building and its attributes to absorb functions that were not initially expected.

Ground Floor plan

Dar Fleifel is an enclosed, introverted angle-building, but at the same time it is built around a hosh, an open collective space, a space that could easily be qualified as a sem-public space. The hosh spreads in between the living spaces at each level and offers to each function a connection with a common area that is more or less porous to its immediate exterior entourage.

Frist floor plan

The Dar AlMajus community center celebrates the hosh typology as an essential component of the historical architecture of Bethlehem that leads the architectural shifting from a domestic to a public use. A new circulation system is inserted in the void of the architectural complex. The project relies on the capacity of the hosh typology and its relation with the other spaces around it to adapt to new uses. It is thought as a system that is not only defined in the geometrical limits of the vertical void, but rather as an extension of the open spaces that spread in between the different closed spaces.

The suggested project intersects domestic and public architecture in an attempt to absorb new uses and create an architecture of new perceptions.

The new rearrangement includes separate diagonal stairs, each serving as an extension of the open spaces between the hosh and the closed spaces. The stairs penetrate beyond the vertical limits of the hosh, creating new perceptions of the actual architecture. The use of stone for the new stairs emphasizes the extension of the common spaces on a sculptural diagonal plane, shoving the perception of spaces and movement. It suggests new interpretations of the building’s architecture. The path along the stairs offers unprecedented point of views on the original structure.

Second Floor plan

The relation between void and mass in the architecture of the project evolves from the lower to the upper parts of the building. The ground floor is built with massive walls with well-defined rooms while the last floor is incomplete featuring unfinished arches. Inspired by the defragmentation of the building’s architecture, the proposal accompanies the increasing importance of void and in-between spaces by defining the entire rooftop space as an extension of the hosh overlooking the street. The covering vaults imagined for this space reinterpret the complex fan vaults found in the lower floors while being built with a block-based geometry. The new structure follows the urban alignment of the building while subtly revealing in low angle point of views the ribs and geometries of the vaults. This new roof suggests an architecture of the interior that is usually unseen from the street and highlights the intersection of domestic and public architecture as the main vector for the transformation of the building.

Ground floor perspective




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