Let’s rediscover (english summary)
Salon Suisse 2016: Saturday 18 June
Architect Bill Bouldin brought his audience for a trip in Middle East to Gaza. He put some Arab carpets and colourful pillows on the floor. The atmosphere was reminiscent of the Tales of Arabian Nights.
Formation and Development Program about Earth Constructions
Architect Bouldin promotes the use of material available on site. He made a demonstration in Gaza in 2009, with a training program on earth construction mandated by UNRWA.
Fight Against Misperceptions
One hundred and twenty mud houses have been built in Gaza. It was necessary to overcome four misperceptions: that the quantity of earth available was limited, that constructions in mud were archaic, that houses with numerous floors could not be provided, and that this kind of architecture was not profitable. Bouldin worked with Rashid al Ruzzi, a Palestinian architect, and a local businessman. They quickly proved that the amount of land was sufficient, and that the way of construction was sustainable: materials that came directly from earth could be directly carried on site.
Simple Architecture and a Pragmatic Approach
Bouldin’s project is based on Hassan Fathy’s 1957 constructions for refugees. Bouldin developed two kinds of constructions in Gaza. He designed a 62-square-metre house with four rooms and an 80-square-metre house with six rooms. Each house contains a base unit of four rooms founded on three architectonic elements: walls, arches and domes.
Few Construction Machines, Great Work of Persuasion
Several weeks of planning and of training were necessary, together with more than three months of work, before the first prototype could welcome a family. The allocated budget covered only six months, but Bouldin’s Palestinian sponsors assured him that almost 120 houses have been realised.
A Contribution for the Future
Bouldin’s project shows what is necessary on the fieldwork: job creation, homes for people in need, and an economic model suitable for regional development. He does not think that his project is the only solution for Gaza, but is a contribution towards its future.
Behind the Scenes
The Jura filmmaker Dominique Fleury screened two short movies. “Hors-Champs d’Oliviers” shows the work of the Israelite painter Benji Boyagdian, who painted white ruins discovered in a valley between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. As this area will soon be equipped with new infrastructures, his work is like an archive, a documentation and also an act of resistance against the urbanisation of this area. “Diary Under Siege” shows the work of Mohamad Abu Almajd, a Palestinian artist who lives in a refugee camp in Yarmouk in Damascus. In April 2015, he started to film with his mobile phone, capturing short moments of daily life in the camp occupied by Daesh. Both projections left the audience confused, as it struggled to connect with them – but the atmosphere relaxed when the buffet arrived, and, in fact, you could hear the discussions in several languages flare from one corner to the other of the Palazzo.
Bill Bouldin, Switzerland: architect, urban and landscape designer. Born in the US, the Swiss Bill Bouldin divides his time between Mechkat Bouldin architects in Geneva and ARU-advisors, a consulting NGO specializing in disaster resilience assessments and construction training in post-crisis environments. Through ARU-advisors and as an independent consultant, Bouldin has worked with the United Nations and International NGOs to develop post-crisis construction, vocational training, and employment projects in Algeria after the Boumerdès earthquake, in Aceh, Indonesia, following the 2004 tsunami, and in Gaza in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead.
Dominique Fleury, Switzerland: filmmaker. Born in Porrentruy, Fleury is a Swiss artist with syro-lebanese roots. Playing with individual and collective fiction, her work focuses on singular mythologies in which each one evolves. Her projects Once Upon Utopia (Alexandria) (2011) and Beth Nahrin between two rivers (2015) were inspired by issues relative to memory and territory in relation with the situation of Middle East Christians. Recently she animated the video workshop Les réfugiés syriens se racontent with Syrian refugees from Switzerland and published the book Stockholm Syndrome.
Redaktion: Roderick Hönig (Hochparterre)
Produktion: Roderick Hönig (Hochparterre), Urs Honegger (Hochparterre)
Korrektorat: Beat Zaugg
Copyright: Pro Helvetia & Hochparterre 2016
Hochparterre dokumentiert den «Salon Suisse» 2016. Als offizieller Medienpartner begleiten wir die Veranstaltungsreihe mit Hintergrundinformationen, Zusammenfassungen, Audiostatements, Bildern und Livestreamings. Der «Salon Suisse» ist das Begleitprogramm des Schweizer Auftritts an der 15. Internationalen Architekturbiennale – La Biennale di Venezia. Der «Salon Suisse» ist eine Initiative der Schweizer Kulturstiftung Pro Helvetia.
Hochparterre documente en exclusivité le «Salon Suisse» 2016. Le partenaire média officiel du salon suit la série d’événements au travers d’articles de fond, de résumés, d’enregistrements audios, d’images et de retransmissions en direct. Le «Salon Suisse» est le programme parallèle de la présence suisse à la 15e Biennale internationale d’architecture – La Biennale di Venezia. Le «Salon Suisse» est une initiative de la Fondation suisse pour la culture Pro Helvetia.
Hochparterre exclusively documents the «Salon Suisse» 2016 starting 1st june 2016. As official media partner Hochparterre provides multimedia background information with written articles, audiostatements, visuals and free live streaming of part of the «Salon Suisse» talks. «Salon Suisse» is a talks and event programme complementing Switzerland’s national participation at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. It is initiated by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.