CCA  Center for Contemporary Art and Ecology 

Wed 24 April


On the 24th of April, RADIUS hosted the event ARCHITECTURING DESTRUCTION IN GAZA, PALESTINE organised by BK Scholars for Palestine. Originally anticipated to take place at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, the event was abruptly canceled, after which the organisers proceeded to independently host the event at RADIUS. 

The event proved to be a much needed discussion on the architecturing of destruction in the Gaza strip in Palestine, grounded in historical facts and well documented figures that aim to shed the light on the unprecedented human catastrophe and what the International Court of Justice found to be a plausible case of genocide. Centering a number of Palestinian scholars with a variety of expertise in the field of architecture and city planning, it aimed to counter a process of active censoring of Palestinian voices in Europe and the Netherlands, and also gave Palestinians the Permission to Narrate, a concept introduced by renowned thinker Edward Said. 

During the event, the speakers shared an overview of the history of the Gaza Strip and the different political events that have produced the lived reality of the territory as it exists today, beginning with Al Nakba all the way through to the Israeli Blockade of the strip in 2005. By doing so, the event emphasised the importance of historically and politically contextualising the events of the present, and to not detach the current Israeli war on the Gaza Strip from the settler colonial history of Palestine nor disconnect the space of the territory from the whole of Palestine.

NADI ABUSAADA is an architectural historian and a lecturer at ETH Zürich. Nadi holds a PhD in architecture from the University of Cambridge and he was previously the Aga Khan Postdoctoral Fellow in Architecture at MIT. His writings appear in various international journals and magazines, including The Architectural Review, where he is an editorial contributor.
NAMA’A QUDAH is an interdisciplinary researcher, currently completing her doctoral studies at Delft University of Technology, at the architecture department as part of (Methods of Analysis and Imagination) group. Her research focuses on the architecture of displacement, particularly Palestinian Refugee Camps, with the help of methods from the fields of architecture, anthropology and creative writing. Nama’a obtained her bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the German Jordanian University and her master’s in Theory and Design from the University of Nottingham. Her professional career was divided between practice and academia, having worked between Germany, the UK and Jordan.
NURHAN ABUJIDI is an Associate Professor at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences, where she is the Head of the Smart Urban Redesign research centre. Her work within the research centre focuses on the ambition to contribute to energy-neutral, circular and vital neighborhoods in the region. Abujidi was a professor in international, post-graduate and Master’s programmes at the Belgian universities Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and other Spanish universities. Her expertise includes urban renewal, public space revitalisation and tactical urbanism. She has twenty years of research on Urbanism in colonial contexts. Prof. Nurhan Abujidi’s lecture examined contemporary political violence and destruction in the context of colonial projects in Palestine. Departing from a broader framework of colonial and post-urban destruction urbanism, with a working hypothesis that there are links, gaps and blind spots in the understanding of the urbicide discourse, Prof. Abujidi drew on several examples from the Palestinian history of destruction and transformations, such as Jenin Refugee Camp, Hebron Old Town, Nablus Old Town, and the ongoing destruction and genocide in Gaza.
SAMAR MAQUSI is a Research Associate at University College London’s Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory (PEARL) working in tandem with the RELIEF centre. Her work looks into the politics of space-making inside the Palestine refugee camps from their inception as scattered relief tents to the highly dense and urbanised architectural form they have become today, mainly focusing on Jordan and Lebanon. More recently, she has been investigating modes of sociality and vitality in refugee camps inside a burdened Lebanon. Previously, Samar worked with UNRWA (UN Agency for Palestine refugees) as an Architect/Physical Planner, focusing on programmes of shelter rehabilitation and camp improvement.