Eljor Kerciku, Erika Trabucco and Flavio Giaccone are the designer of the pavilion and tutor of the workshop led for its construction within the program 'Sustainable Reconstruction in Gaza,' organized by Handicap International in collaboration with the University of Palestine. Along the workshop, 50 engineering and architecture students have realized, with the aid of a local construction company, a 1:1 scale prototype to test the potential of recycled materials
The purpose of both the workshop and the project developed in Italy in collaboration with the architect Flavio Giaccone, was to test new methods capable of reducing the gap between the need of reconstruction and the difficulties in starting this process. In this context, infact, the blockade imposed by Israel (and ratified by Egypt as well), together with the difficult political and economic situation and the dispersion of labour skills, don't permit any kind of development of the territory.
Prototypes with recycled materials and rubble in Gaza Strip
Handicap International, NGO
architectural design; workshop conception and management
The main pavilion, called "Peace Pavilion", has been designed to be a place for rest and meditation for the students of the University of Palestine. The almost cubic block [4.8x4.8xh3.6m] is made of 80 metal cages realized with wire meshes and welded iron bars [8mm] recycled from destroyed buildings. Once put in place, the gabions were manually filled with concrete rubble [cement conglomerates crushed or to be crushed on site, rocks, pieces of stone and ceramic tiles] paying special attention to ensure the right distribution of mass and empty spaces.
The smaller pavilion was built with bags filled with sand and covered with a light tarpaulin fixed on a wooden structure. It has been equipped as a bathroom designed with all the devices needed to facilitate the use by people with disabilities in order to be an example of a correct use of standards (handrails positioning, distance between elements, width of spaces, etc.). A wall has been realized with recycled plastic bottles filled with sand and fixed with a reduced amount of cement mortar.
The light roof, which provides shadow while letting shafts of light filter inside the pavilion, reinterprets the idea of brise soleil in a low cost perspective by combining recycled pallets with a slim wooden structure [2.5x10x390cm planks] that rests, on one side, on the gabion walls and, on the other side, on an identical vertical structure [the facade of the pavilion]. In the middle of the internal open space was planted a small Ficus Benjamin, a tree that grew extensively in the Gaza Strip before the armed conflict erupted and destroyed most of them.
The decision not to build the prototype with a private company but with students was not secondary at all: freshness and enthusiasm of the new generations of professionals are the engines that will, in the future, restart the industrial and economic machine of Gaza. Today students need to be stimulated with new experiences and new ideas. Through this experience, students could see the result of their work, they made contact with the reality of a construction site with all its technical and organizational implications, they witnessed the dynamic growth and distance between the drawn objects and the built ones;
they also experienced working in a team work where boys and girls worked side by side, forgetting for a few days all socio-cultural barriers and giving us all a lesson on commitment and passion, but also on open-mindness.