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Rebel Architecture: From Spain to Israel

Rebel Architecture: From Spain to Israel, Austerity to Occupation

Architecture and the built environment is a kind of a slow violence”
- Israeli architect, Eyal Weizman

• The ‘Rebel Architecture’ series features architects from Vietnam, Nigeria, Spain, Pakistan, Israel/Occupied West Bank and Brazil who are using design to tackle the world’s urban, environmental and social crises

• The series premieres on 18th August with ‘Guerrilla Architect’ which casts an eye on occupation and the architecture of activism in austerity-hit Spain

• Airing 1st September 2014 as part of the ‘Rebel Architecture’ series on Al Jazeera, ‘The Architecture of Violence’ demonstrates architecture’s role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and its attacks on Gaza

Al Jazeera’s ‘Rebel Architecture’ series features a film ‘The Architecture of Violence’, demonstrating how architecture is central to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and takes a journey across the settlements and roads of the West Bank and along the Separation Wall.

Weizman meets locals on both sides who talk about how it feels to live in a landscape where everything, from walls and roads, terraces and sewage, to settlements and surveillance are designed to ensure the separation of the two peoples, while simultaneously maintaining control.

“Architecture and the built environment is a kind of slow violence. The occupation is an environment that was conceived to strangulate Palestinian communities, villages and towns, to create an environment that would be unlivable for the people there”, says Weizman. “When violence is enacted through architecture, architecture must somehow rise to resist it.”

He has found a way for architecture to resist. His latest project - Forensic Architecture – takes ruins and the wounds inflicted on the built environment (e.g. from bombings and shelling) as evidence for the investigation of war crimes, with the aid of innovative architectural and visual technologies.

The ground-breaking ‘Rebel Architecture’ series uncovers other architects shunning the glamour of ‘starchitecture’ and using design to tackle the world’s urban, environmental and social crises.

In 2010, the world’s urban population peaked, finally outweighing the number of people living in rural areas. But this seismic change in habitat has coincided with soaring pollution, a spectacular rise in global inequality, and the explosive growth of informal settlements. The six architects profiled in ‘Rebel Architecture’ are willing to tackle these problems head on, even if it means being cast out by the architectural establishment.

“This series challenges our conceptions of architecture and design, and the way we cover them in the media”, said Giles Trendle, Director of Programmes at Al Jazeera English. “With surprising and inspiring stories from all over the world, it’s completely unlike any other programme on architecture.”

Pakistan’s first female architect Yasmeen Lari started out designing huge buildings like the Pakistan State Oil Building, but when aid failed to materialise after the 2010 floods, she turned to traditional techniques to design flood and earthquake proof buildings for people in remote regions.

“When we train, we are taught that architecture is like God because you create things. As a result, your ego is inflated. You think no-one else can do what you’re doing.”

ENDS

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