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A place to stay: A city strategy to reconnect Nablus with the landscape

Part 1 Project 2012
Samantha Horn
London Metropolitan University, UK
Nablus is the largest city in the northern West Bank. Checkpoints and restrictions have isolated the city, which until recently has been inaccessible to tourists. The Old City has a rich heritage, but the Palestinian Israeli conflict has damaged its fabric and restricted the community.

With little accommodation or possibility for tourists to contribute to the economy, this project seeks to encourage a form of ethical and cultural tourism, providing jobs and improving living standards, whilst preserving and promoting the Palestinian heritage of Nablus.

City Strategy.

The Touqan Palace, a ruined 17th century fortified palace, is the main site for the project. The project integrates visitors with the community, creating a symbiotic relationship, through cultural exchange. The Palace is proposed as an epicentre of a network of interventions that increase connectivity and become part of a greater series of routes that begin to reunite Nablus with the surrounding landscape.

Five Typologies.

Five types of intervention are placed strategically across the Old City to create new routes and opportunities, facilitating existing activities at roof top level. These are: The bridge; the added room; the boundary; the stairs and the roof.

The Epicentre.

At the epicentre of the interventions, the Touqan Palace provides spaces for both the community and visitors. There are studio spaces for artists in residence, a community kitchen and shop for local crafts, supporting women by providing work, increasing their participation in the social and economic life of the city.

Place to Stay.

Visitor accommodation is provided within the ‘added room’ interventions, which are interwoven throughout the city. Rooms are added to existing dwellings situated in the Hawshs of the city (traditional close-like clusters of houses), allowing local families to generate an income through hosting visitors.

The promotion of ethical/cultural tourism that the project encourages, would not only improve the local economy, but also allow the social, cultural and architectural identity of the city to be shared and understood. It is the delicate communication and preservation of the Palestinian identity that is at the root of this proposal, and also at the heart of many Nablusi’s approach to resistance.

Samantha Horn


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