Zarith Pineda, M.Arch, Tulane University, 2015

Engineered Paradises: A Nation of Catharsis in Hebron, the West Bank

Zarith Pineda
 Zarith Pineda

Cohabitation in contested territories is extremely difficult especially when there is an occupying power and an occupied people sharing the same area and have limited access to each other’s exclusive domains. Throughout history, these conditions have been temporal – usually, one of the two powers gains control of the area and the other is exiled or forced to assimilate. In the case of the city of Hebron in the Occupied West Bank/Israel this will never be a reality. Due to its religious importance to Jews, Muslims, and Arabs, Hebron will always be seen by the state of Israel and the nation of Palestine as ‘theirs’, a condition formalized as part of The Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron of 1997. As a result of the protocol the city was meticulously segregated down to the block and building scale. Currently, 80% of Hebron is Palestinian (H1) while 20% is Israeli (H2). Even though Palestinian Hebron is larger, it is under complete Israeli military control while H2’s only constraint is limited entry to H1.  These divisions are extremely complex as there is no wall around the city to differentiate both ‘neighborhood nations.’ Hebron is a complex metropolis of layers assigned by altitude, religious affiliation and military strategy. Hebronites experience various privileges and restrictions depending on their nation-al affiliation, a reality that incubates resentments between both communities. The thesis aims to create nationless spaces, unaffiliated ‘engineered paradises’ deployed at the urban scale, to provide a respite from the toxicity of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

About the presenter:

Zarith Pineda is recent graduate of Tulane University where she completed the rigorous 5 year M.Arch program and a B.A. in French and French Literature. Her M.Arch thesis project, Engineered Paradises, has been exhibited at the Ogden Museum of Art and featured on ArchDaily. Zarith is currently taking the summer to travel throughout Asia and South America before beginning her professional career in the fall. Follow Zarith on LinkedIn // her website.

Read more about AIA|DC’s Emerging Architects Committee 2015 Thesis Showcase

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