Curbed wrote a fascinating story about Israeli architecture studio SAYA's goal to get politicians thinking more like architects and architects to approach space like policymakers. Through designs in conflict zones such as the West Bank, the design team strives to reinstate the public role of architects and encourage them to design structures that facilitate peace.
For their final Technion project, team members Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat and Karen Lee Bar-Sinai designed a transportation hub for Jerusalem, one which would serve both as a border and a functional part of the city. The architects’ approach to spatial segregation occurring in areas of conflict envisions a future where structures that implement territorial agreements can be repurposed to enrich urban space.
SAYA’s interactive map, designed in collaboration with the Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, shows the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City as structures that integrate security with other functions. The project was funded by the Peres Center for Peace for a special touristic program created in collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians.
Some of the team’s small-scale projects are already under construction, including a public space in Kibbutz Be’eri in southern Israel. One of their projects is a peace park slated for development between the city of Jenin in Palestine and Israel’s Gaboa Regional Council, and plans include a mechanism for recycling water. The project is scheduled to go out for contractor bids in March.
Greenfield-Gilat and Bar-Sinai plan to design projects across the world and hope to spread their design philosophy beyond the Middle East region, where they currently live and work. They are interested in creating architecture that will combine narratives and bring architects back into focus when making decisions that concern public spaces.