Urban Campus @ Gaza city, Palestine
Awards Winning Concept Design Project
الأفق ("Horizon") is an integrated educational campus located at the heart of Gaza's 3,000 years old harbor. The complex creates a flexible platform for a wide range of activities while emphasizing the ties between Humanity and Earth. The complex consists of educational functions, which interlock and merges with the harbor's industrial and commercial functions. While providing an open promenade at street level, the promenade continues to develop lightly above the beach below for the welfare of the people.
Area : 9,000 sqm
Capacity : 2,200 student, 320 employees
Concept : Urban agriculture study and implimentation
Budget : 420,000,000 USD
الأفق ("Horizon") is an integrated educational campus located at the heart of Gaza's 3,000 yearsold harbor. The building's complex creates a flexible platform for a wide range of activities while emphasizing the ties between Humanity and Earth.
The complex's program consists of educational functions, which interlock and merges with, and into, the harbor's modern industrial and commercial functions. While providing an open promenade at street level, the system continues to develop and re-introduces the virgin beach below, accessible and protected for the welfare of the people.
The project stresses knowledge as a paramount value, and education and openness as fundamental keystones while maintaining flexibility as a crucial parameter in the modern age.
The challenge and complexity of the project presented immediately numerous advantages and opportunities which we just could not leave unexplored. It was beyond curious to see the final result when the original site is burned in our memory.
The historic harbor in Gaza is approximately 3,000 years old. In the past the port was used as a gateway to the Middle Eastern sea, and the development of the city revolving the port is distinct. Gaza is one of the most crowded cities in the world, and for the last few decades it has suffered bombardments, plundering, quarantines, sieges, and several regime turmoils. Today the City of Gaza faces a transition period in which the traumas of the past are easily recognized through urban analysis maps, as the empty plots scattered through the city stand out. The city of Gaza endures many hardships even today, and the majority of the population is dependent on international support for sustenance and supplies. Given that by the year 2020 the area will stabilize, the possibilities for development are endless. Aerial surveys of Gaza strip present an accelerating massive urbanization, spreading over more and more agricultural areas and vacuous territories. The population becomes increasingly crowded and cities expand while areas fit for farming and pastures diminish. The project focuses on the process of restoring the former glory of the port by means of a working technique which aspires to "conjure out of thin air…" / "create something out of nothing… "Sensitivity, flexibility, and recognition of the clients stand above all else.
The point of origin in designing the project rendered above all else the will to conserve and the wish to make use of the historic site for the benefit of the local population, via entertainment, culture and recreation as well as becoming a national and international tourist attraction. The project, in fact, aspires to redeem the port's past glory, by revitalizing the port for trade, tourism, industry and leisure. According to the jumping tower scheme, the complex frames the view without abstracting the view from the city, incorporating platforms out of thin air. The relocation of industry and commerce functions underground endows the section of the port shore to the citizens of the city, while enabling the coexistence and functionality of the various elements of the port.
Nowadays the population of Gaza city exceeds 1.6 billion people, most of which (99.3%) are Sunni Muslims. The city of Gaza possesses a unique demography which presents another datum – roughly half the population is very young (48.5% are 14 years old or younger). Given this information, and combining data of high growth rate (40.03 births for every 1000 people), as well as the intense urban density (16,450 people per square kilometer) earns the city the title of the most crowded city in the world, while indicating how rapidly Gaza outstretches and becomes immensely dense. Gaza is virtually a city of children, who will have become the backbone of the new nation "Palestine" by the year 2020. This data can't be disregarded while designing a project of an urban scale, therefore it is expedient to address the youth as key to the region's development – education as a paramount value for the consolidation of a thriving country, openness and sensitivity.