Dar Fleifel has an architecture that is resolutely modern because it relies on systems ra-ther 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 Pal-estinian cities’ architectural vocabulary helps better seize the scale of the city and the rel-evance 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.

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-ipublic 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 immedi-ate exterior entourage.
The Dar AlMajus community center celebrates the hosh typology as an essential compo-nent 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 architec-tural 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 sculp-tural diagonal plane, shoving the perception of spaces and movement. It suggests new interpretations of the building’s architecture. The path along the stairs offers unprece-dented point of views on the original structure.

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 in-creasing 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 light material produced off-site and assembled in situ. The new structure fol-lows 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 fro the transformation of the building.

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