Decolonizing Architecture institute
Bethlehem ~ Palestinian Areas
2010 Prince Claus Laureate Decolonizing Architecture institute’s unique practice is dedicated to the identification of architecture’s role as a central tool in spatial power relations and in the making of conflict. It seeks to subvert and propose new ways for the re-use of architecture’s dominating potential. Founded in 2007, DAi is run by scholars, activists and architects Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman and Alessandro Petti, as a residency involving local and international practitioners. Looking forward to the future evacuation of colonising forces from Palestinian territories, Decolonizing Architecture offers practical possibilities for their re-appropriation. Its materials document various methods of dismantling and re-formulating Israeli settlements and military bases. Drawings and projections show how spaces can be transformed, and models also provide evidence in legal process. People can relate to these visual representations and are empowered to imagine the reconfiguration of their devastated environment. DAi’s plans reflect both the place of refuge and site of origin, and offer visions for the restoration of historical sites. Spreading their ideas through exhibitions, lectures, videos and publications, DAi challenges individuals and communities to think and plan for an unthreatening built environment. Decolonizing Architecture is honoured for introducing a non-traditional approach to development in conflict and post-conflict situations, for providing valuable speculation on the future realities of disputed territories, for its critical challenge to outdated urban planning theories based on a more peaceful world, and for highlighting the role of architecture and visualisation in creating and altering the frontiers of reality.