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JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING https://doi.org/10.1080/13467581.2023.2229393 ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY AND THEORY An analysis into East Jerusalem’s housing environment: from social and climatic perspective Yara Saifi Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Al Quds University, Palestine ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 17 February 2023 The demographic growth in East-Jerusalem and limited land availability due to Israeli planning Accepted 21 June 2023 policies have led to the emergance of haphazardly designed housing developments that prioritize profit over culturally and climatically responsive design solutions. As a result, traditional values are KEYWORDS lost, and the impact of climate change is exacerbated. This study evaluates the housing environment Sustainability; modernity; in Jerusalem from social and climatic perspectives, using locally produced architectural design climate-responsive design; solutions to identify sustainable indicators. The study emphasizes the importance of building housing; East Jerusalem layouts and design principles that were developed by Jerusalemites in their early attempts to modernize while rooted in traditional values. Field and ethnographic research provides a comprehensive understanding of layout designs, decisions related to thermal comfort, and cultural values associated with the living environment during the early modernity phase. Morphological analysis of plan layouts identifies common design principles frequently employed in relation to climatic, social, and environmental factors. Additionally, the study conducts a systematic literature review of previous research to identify the approaches and methodologies used in detecting indicators of climate-responsive architectural design. These indicators are used alongside field analysis to evaluate and compare cases and identify problematic issues in contem- porary housing development designs. The study presents guidelines for future sustainable devel- opments based on locality. 1. Introduction is with no escape. Within a modern context, designers, architects, planners, professionals and policy makers are The impact of climate change is becoming more evident, required to amalgamate between the values and lessons urging the world and communities to react proactively in of the traditional and modernity’s “problem solving” considering the environment. One sector to consider and idiom. Here, modernity is not a matter of a stylistic atti- one that encompasses each individual is housing (Ohchr tude promoting ornament-free architecture, but should 2020). Housing plays an essential role in achieving and be seen as a dialectic relation based on efficiency and defining sustainability and can have a determining effect lessons from the past that are “domesticized” (see Daher on the urban ecology. It affects people’s quality of life as 2015) according to people and to what makes sense to well as the economy. Housing, traditionally and currently, them in terms of their needs and economic circum- is not meant to fulfill human need of shelter only, but also stances. In the case of early modernity in East realize broader sustainable needs and requirements. In Jerusalem, social, cultural and climatical aspects became order to achieve an environmentally sustainable and increasingly important, and witnessed a successful inter- sound housing design, traditional settings are essential pretation of that relationship at its initial stages. People’s to inform and teach professionals about the responsive initial attempts and trials in the city had adapted moder- relationship between the environment, climate, and nity and tailored it according to their living style, needs, building and site design (Edwards 1996; Marat-Mendes culture and climatic conditions whilst linking it to the and Scoffham 1998). Today’s modern housing develop- prevailing advancement in technologies and the political ments are mainly concerned with solutions that increase situation at the time. This initial adaptation, once linked profit margins, which often results in consumers suffering to sustainability is challenged today along with the from poor ventilation, lack of climatic comfort and being rapidly changing socio-economic structure of the world reliant upon electromechanical air conditioning for heat- and its political turbulences, hence Jerusalem’s rich his- ing, cooling and lighting. While this is true in today’s torical system of values, traditions and culture is strug- contemporary societies, modernity on the other hand is gling for validity today. essential to humans too, and incorporating it into our life CONTACT Yara Saifi firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Al Quds University, Abu Dis, Palestine © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the Architectural Institute of Japan, Architectural Institute of Korea and Architectural Society of China. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent. 2 Y. SAIFI need of Palestinians in the city. This is likely to lead 1.1. Brief contextual background in East to further serious problems and changes to the built Jerusalem environment. Hence, it is important that architects In Jerusalem, the traditional lifestyle associated with the and communities are aware of the importance of culture has ceased to develop over the past 60 years. developing a more culturally, socially and physically Following the Israeli occupation of the city in 1967 until sustainable environment that is anchored on tradi- this day, restrictions on Palestinians are imposed through tional, climatic and local consciousness. urban planning policies, building laws and regulations. Through the imposition of foreign values enforced as international and modern standards (that dictates the 1.2. Aims and objective building size, areas, materials, form, etc.), which set an example towards non-sustainable developments that This study aims to evaluate the housing environment in negate traditional values, resulting in the deterioration Jerusalem from both climatical and social perspective in of the traditional environment, both physically and order to identify appropriate sustainable indicators socially. In stark contrast, in the years leading up to based on architectural design solutions. It deliberates 1967, during the Jordanian rule of the city (19487–1967), on the role of locally produced architectural design early modernity successfully addressed sustainability solutions in achieving thermal comfort, which is issues of building form, climate control, while maintaining grounded in the values of traditional settings through the social infrastructure. However, the pluralistic climate-responsive building forms, layouts and design approach by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality and principals. These values are based on patterns devel- Israeli national planning authorities had urged oped, tried and tested by Palestinian Jerusalemites in Jerusalemites to abandon these approaches through their early attempts of embracing modernity. Also, they other restrictive standards. Refusal to abide by these embrace traditional settings in terms of environment, resulted in building permissions being withheld and culture, context, and climate, and highlight people’s being subject to possible demolition orders along with approaches to sustainability. By using such indicators, other vital problems and difficulties. the study evaluates the new developments in the con- The political situation in East Jerusalem also threa- temporary housing environment in East Jerusalem and tens the traditional and unique architecture in the identifies problematic issues through a comparison city. Briefly, this is achieved through setting new developed towards the end of the study. Ultimately, municipal boundaries for the city that is surrounded the study aims to provide hints for sustainable develop- by a concrete Separation Wall that divides ment in the city by establishing and defining appropri- Jerusalemites from the rest of the West Bank and ate design solutions that emphasize locality and the potential vacant area that can cater for their sustainability based on its unique climatic conditions. growth. Palestinian Jerusalemites, who were granted In order to evaluate the housing environment in residency in their city by Israel following its occupa- accordance with human thermal comfort, climatical tion in 1967, are required to live within these drawn and social consideration, a set of questions have boundaries. This is enforced by regular inspections been formulated: What are the main attributes of and failure to comply can threaten their right to live a socially and climatically responsive architectural design in the city. Overall, this has resulted in a limited area suitable for residential building in East Jerusalem? What designated for Palestinians to live and grow, which physical elements are essential to achieve this? How can affects the development of their economy and the locally produced architectural solutions, which have built environment, leading to a loss in the traditional already been tried and influenced by the traditional life- urban fabric and character. This together with the styles of Jerusalemites, inform design decisions in new lack of investment and planning in East Jerusalem contemporary developments that take into account the by the Jerusalem municipality, results in people climatic, social, and environmental conditions of building without permissions which can result in Jerusalem? high fines and demolition orders. Today, a majority To achieve answers and results, the study surveys 31 of the residential construction is unauthorized in East residential building that emerged at different periods Jerusalem (Bimkom 2014). Those who do own land in the neighbourhood of Shufat, East Jerusalem. It and could afford to build are required to apply for documents their plan typologies, analysis and com- permissions that are very expensive and demand pares them to achieve the following objectives: a long waiting period and complicated process with limitations according to the laws. Many advocacy and To demonstrate the role and effectiveness of humanistic agencies and non-governmental organi- locally produced and developed architectural zations call for further development on an urban design solutions as an adaptive interpretation of planning level and housing sector to satisfy the the relationship between thermal comfort and demand for new housing stock to fulfill the growing the built environment in modern standards. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 3 ● To shed light on a neglected period of research environment due to its broad scope (Chellappa and and study: the early modernity stage in the city. Srivastava 2022; Hosseini et al. 2018). The search ● To identify sustainability indicators by consider- yielded 92 articles after applying rules such as publica- ing climate-responsive architectural design in tion years between 2020 and 2023 and English lan- Jerusalem. guage, including all document types such as journal articles and conference papers. To accomplish the aims and objectives of this study After a thorough review of the articles, 10 articles and investigate appropriate design solutions for were excluded from the sample as they do not address a comfortable indoor environment in Jerusalem, residential buildings, but instead address public build- a systematic literature review was conducted on ther- ings such as mosques and industrial buildings. mal comfort strategies used in vernacular dwellings. Following the refinement, 82 articles were included in The review focused on passive cooling, natural ventila- the sample. The detailed literature review was then tion, and solar energy for heating, and utilized the summarized according to three categories; methodol- Scopus database to retrieve relevant studies. These ogy, type of cases (contemporary or/and vernacular), scholarly works were examined to provide insights on and the type of climate addressed. Following this, the latest research methodologies and to give an over- three major observations could be outlined as follows: view of similar studies conducted in residential build- Group one of articles, demonstrated in Table 1, is ings across various climatic conditions, and particularly based on achieving results through the comparison of hot and dry climates. The review aimed to identify thermal comfort in traditional vernacular environments gaps in the existing literature and inform the current and contemporary housing examples within the same study. context and under similar climatical conditions and geo- Based on its findings, the study suggests that graphy. Results from this group builds on comparison a continuity of values grounded in sustainable consid- showing that vernacular dwellings are more thermally erations of the climate, social, and environmental fac- comfortable than contemporary building through the tors can be achieved in Jerusalem. To achieve this, employment of climatically responsive technologies, designers and architects need to develop physically materials, building techniques using passive cooling and socially sustainable solutions that build upon the means. Among the 82 articles reviewed, this approach traditional built environment and the community’s was followed in 33 of them. Within this group, it was identity over the years. shown that vernacular construction methods and the use of available materials were able to provide comfortable indoor environment, while different results were not 2. Methodology: Vernacular architecture and attainable in contemporary examples, as shown in stu- the discourse of thermal comfort dies by Bencheikh and Bederina (2020); Gazquez, Hernández, and López (2022); Hailu, Gelan, and Girma 2.1. Systematic literature review (2021). Another major set of research concentrates on The aim of this section is to conduct a systematic understanding the indoor environment through climate- literature review of previous research to identify the responsive construction techniques, materials, architec- approaches and methodologies used in detecting indi- tural elements and typologies as means for more ther- cators of climate-responsive architectural design, mally comfortable performance employed solely in which will help to identify the research gap and estab- vernacular dwellings and draws lessons to take into con- lish the novelty of this research. It seeks to answer the sideration in future designs, for instance studies by following questions: What methods have been used to Izadpanahi, Farahani, and Nikpey (2021); Li, Jin, and Guo assess the impact of architectural design attributes, (2022); Pilechiha et al. (2022). Ten articles did not define such as typologies, sizes, layouts, floor plans, openings, their cases as either vernacular or contemporary, and and arrangements of spaces and rooms, on achieving mostly included systematic review articles, material engi- quality indoor thermal comfort? Which historical peri- neering lab experiments, and research related to lower ods have been addressed in these assessments? carbon footprint and less energy consumption. To do so, the study turns to the Scopus database A second observation is based on the methods and searches for articles using the keywords “vernacu- utilized to achieve results as shown in Table 2. Many lar,” OR “architecture,” OR “thermal comfort” in of the methods utilized in the studies varied between April 2023. The Scopus database is commonly used in the use of computer software and simulation in order systematic literature reviews related to the built Table 1. Observations from literature review based on traditional or/and contemporary dwellings cases. Contemporary Vernacular cases Cases Comparative vernacular and contemporary cases Undefined cases Total 33 6 33 10 82 4 Y. SAIFI to replicate examples and test their behaviors by pro- ● Many studies ignore the decades-long adjust- viding certain climatical and contextual criteria similar ments and changes that communities have to reality (Gottkehaskamp and Willmann 2022; Henna, made to adapt from different settings before gra- Saifudeen, and Mani 2021). Other methods use statis- dual settling to new and recent contemporary tics and mathematical equations to test temperatures, housing. Focus is given into a comparison humidity and deal with thermal comfort as sets of between the traditional and the recent, thus numerical data to build evidence. Another third ignoring and limiting possible solutions and indi- approach- in contrast to the above that bases the cators to investigate the mood of production that subject on an engineering science- involves people as emerged following people’s moving from tradi- end-users to provide data on how they perceive ther- tional settings as a result of the modernization mal comforts in budlings according to a set scale pre- and which can have possible indicators towards defined by the researchers to score their satisfaction sustainability. There is a need to investigate the and comfort conditions. This is argued to perceive ways in which people perceive and re- people as passive receivers who respond to the ther- conceptualize and how they have adapted and mal conditions according to their behavior, psychol- sustained their everyday lives in accordance with ogy, physiology and ability to adjust to the design of local climatic characteristics following their move the physical space (Chang et al. 2021; Hosseini 2022; from traditional settings as a result of Kürüm Varolgüneş 2020; Peker 2022). Others also com- modernization. bine several methods within the same research to ● A need to approach the topic of thermal comfort achieve results such as Ozarisoy and Altan (2021); and sustainability through the design of physical Qian et al. (2023). space from a socio-cultural and ethnographic per- The third and final observation relates to the type of spective, rather than focusing solely on scientific climates that most researches address. According to definitions, technical solutions and standards Table 3, most of the researches focuson hot and dry (Healey and Webster-Mannison 2012) that is also climates including arid, semi-arid and hot-humid cli- not limited on single-case studies. The literature in mates, as well as the tropical and semi-tropical cli- this respect is growing and highlights the different mates. Continental and cold climates are less variables grounded in history and culture, which considered. Although the Mediterranean climate is carry social meaning (Peker 2022). People’s socio- similar to hot and dry climates, it has its distinct cli- cultural practice is changeable according to the matic characteristics, and the architecture developed different parameters that can evolve and change around its basin reflects these differences. What this such as materials, techniques, and values (Fouseki systematic review indicates is that fewer recent studies et al. 2020), and their decisions towards thermal have been conducted on bioclimatic architecture comfort are a reflection of cultural values associatied within a Mediterranean climate (Ozarisoy and Altan with their living environment and the knowledge 2021), particularly in Palestine. accumulated about the environment and buildings. Based on the above analysis, three observations can ● A need to conduct more research on contemporary be summarized as essential guides for the novelty of and vernacular architecture around the this study: Mediterranean basin, drawing on important lessons Table 2. Methods utilized in housing studies on thermal comfort. Simulations and Review Combined survey and Simulations/computer software Measurements Measurements articles Survey measurements Total 17 34 10 6 8 7 82 Table 3. Climate-based distribution of articles: Keywords analysis. Climate type Articles’ distribution based on climate types Arid 13 Semi-arid 4 Hot and dry 11 Mediterranean 4 Hot-humid 5 Sub-Saharan 2 Mild 2 Tropical 13 Sub-tropical 3 Continental 5 Cold 4 Ambient 1 Multiple/undefined 15 JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 5 to improve issues related with housing thermal and sustainability. The houses selected for analysis comfort, especially given political and natural disas- were identified using an arial map and by noting the ters that may threaten vernacular architecture limit- construction dates engraved at their entrances ing the possibility to examine it further. (Figure 1). Only houses overlooking the main street were selected, and all selected houses were visited Based on the above analysis, the methodology fol- when entry was allowed. Plans were sketched, front lowed in this study is qualitative (descriptive) and façades were documented, and these were drawn empirical rather than experimental. It builds on obser- using AutoCAD. The houses were analyzed after being vations and analyses of housing typologies and the categorized according to their characteristics, such as design of physical space that is organized and concep- opening, orientation, space morphology, geometry, tualized by people according to the socio-cultural, sizes and other details. During visits that took place environmental, and sustainable values associated between 2017 and 2019, users were interviewed to with their traditional environment. The study com- provide insights related to general uses of the space bines on-site ethnographic research with occupants according to seasonal changes. Questions were asked and architectural analysis of building typologies in about the spaces used in different seasons, the types of relation to thermal comfort, utilizing a handful sample heating devices used, and the main spaces used and of housing from a neglected and understudied period why. A total of 19 houses out of 53 were documented in the production of a modern architectural living during these visits, as shown in Table 4. environment and style based on adaptive methods For the purpose of this study, the author revisited the rooted in traditional values. This will enable the evalua- houses previously surveyed and examined examples with tion of the performance of contemporary develop- new floors added after the year 1967 (Phase II). Plan ments in the city of Jerusalem in this regard. typologies from this period were outlined, and altera- tions/adjustments were compared to the existing floors that belonged to the Phase I. Differences and similarities 2.2. Field study and data analysis were drawn between the new and existing floors. Cases that were built entirely following the years of the First The field study is divided into three parts based on the Intifada (Uprising) in 1987 were excluded, as they demon- historical timeline of construction in the city, as well as strate other stylistic approaches interrelated with differ - different political dynamics and rules that shaped life ent political dynamics and require a separate study. The there. Each period is represented by different housing visits took place during the autumn of 2022 and winter of typologies and can be categorized as follows: The first 2023. Of the 53 houses, 15 had added new floors during initial phase (Phase I) (1948–1967 during the Jordanian the set period and 9 only allowed entry (Table 4). These Rule); and the second adjustment phase (Phase II) (1967– houses were drawn using AutoCAD and put into tables, late 1980s) following the Israeli occupation; and the new which were then compared with the original footprints of contemporary development, which began after the city the lower floor. Differences, similarities, and significant was divided from the rest of the West Bank and the changes were outlined and will be presented further in Separation Wall was built early 2000. Although, Phase the study. I and II took place at different times and at political Regarding the new contemporary developments, settings, they were continuous and based on sustainable their large number and various locations made it difficult references to the environment, climate and culture devel- to conduct a physical survey for each case individually. oped by people. This approach construes architecture as Therefore, developers’ websites in the area were visited a cultural and social process beyond its discipline, based and plan typologies recorded as representative examples on the notion of “learning by doing” and “learning by of the situation in the city. These websites provided plan living”. typologies, 3D drawings of flats under construction, and The present study first builds on a previous study and were offered for sale. This approach has also ensured that survey conducted by the author (Samman and Saifi the cases under study had obtained official building 2021). This earlier study examined the first encounter permissions from the Jerusalem municipality, as houses with modernity (Phase I) in Shufat, a neighbourhood to without approvals may not follow codes, making evalua- the north of the Old City of Jerusalem. The neighbour- tion difficult. Three representative examples were chosen hood has flourished from a small village and become from these websites. The plans were schematically connected to the city. The previous study analyzed the redrawn, and spatial relationships were identified. Each characteristics of a handful houses in the area in relation case represented a typical floor plan, including the plan to an adaptive approach to modernity based on the of each flat. owners' previous lives and houses in the traditional Each of the results from the above periods is village from a socio-cultural, and economic perspective. represented separately in the following sections. The current study draws further on empirical data and To achieve a climatically responsive architectural ethnographic research to explore the relationship design, several factors such as architectural design, between these houses and issues related to climate 6 Y. SAIFI Figure 1. Study area map: Shufat neighbourhood and case Locations. Table 4. Summary of field study results from Phases I and II: Overview of case collection. Phase Total number of buildings (old and Built between 1948–1967 Altered Demolished Allowed entry and Did not allow I new) documented entry 75 53 6 1 19 27 * Phase Added new floors after 1967- till Allowed second entry II early 80s 15 9 Note: * originally was 28 during the first visits and 27 after demolition of one building. environmental conditions, and occupants’ use of and compiled into detailed categorized criteria for their living spaces need to be considered. evaluation. Subsequently, the cases from the field Therefore, data was analyzed according to these study were compared and evaluations were made. factors. Morphological analysis of the plan layouts Figure 2, illustrates the various steps taken in the of the cases studied helped to identify common methodology, and detailed explanations are pro- design principles that were frequently employed in vided in the discussion section. Towards the end relation to climatic, social and environmental fac- of the study, a set of considerations is also provided tors. Taxonomies were established to categorize to establish a basis for future developments that the design principles and characteristics of the should take place based on the traditional setting housing units, which included Phase I, Phase II, and socio-cultural life in the city. and new contemporary developments. Additionally, In summary, the general methodology adopts an systematic reviews were conducted to validate the empirical and qualitative descriptive research attributes of a climate-responsive architectural approach, which enables gaining a comprehensive design found in the literature, and content analysis understanding of layout designs, decisions related to based on VOSviewer to provide insights into the thermal comfort, and cultural values associated with main subjects related to this. Once attributes were the living environment. Ethnographic research is used identified, they were correlated with the taxonomies to support this approach. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 7 Figure 2. Methodology flowchart. 3. Literature review 1953), houses were mostly of a single room and single story. They had a square or rectangular plan with 3.1. An overview of the traditional rural a dimension of 5 × 5 or 4 × 4 meter, and are referred to Palestinian architecture as the “peasant house” (A’miry and Tamari 1989) or the The traditional settlements of Palestine (villages and “Shepherd house” (Al-Ghadban 2008). Typically, a group cities) display how the local climate, environment and of repetitive houses were organized in a cluster protecting culture played a major role in defining housing char- an inner courtyard (Housh), where usually the extended acteristics. It also reflects how people connected with families of the same clan (Hamouleh) would live. The their surrounding environment based on their living empty areas in between are utilized for agriculture, sto- style and need, which is mainly associated with farm- rage and as a potential area for future expansion. ing and animal herding, as well as the cultural, social Expansion is usually horizontal based on adding new and economic state that was echoed in the physical rooms when needed and in some cases vertical expan- form and gave their architecture its characteristics. sions are detected. Therefore, the characteristics of the Houses were built in a traditional way through utilizing form can be interpreted as being modular, with a series of the local and affordable building materials and techni- simple cubes with flat façades and domed roofs (vaults ques according to the topography and climate in each and barrels) built with the local stone. This modularity region in Palestine. While the architecture of the urban allows for flexibility in terms of additions or removal in setting is complex, the rural architecture of the settle- spaces between the empty areas. The whole village is ments accentuates a genuine identity of the majority organically organized along the landscape in of Palestinians who lived in rural areas. Therefore, this a horizontal manner, displaying an awareness of the section concentrates on this architecture. topography and the human scale as well as the climate The climate of Palestine is distinctive to the (Figure 3). A larger communal building shared by all the Mediterranean except for the desert areas, with longer residents can be found in the village to receive more months of hot summers and cold and rainy winters. guests (referred to as the Madafah meaning guest Geographically, there are three main areas that are house) and is typical in Palestinian villages. associated with different climates and they run as Internally the small and limited closed indoor spaces three parallel strips respectively along the north- of the houses were specifically utilized for particular south; the flat coastal areas along the Mediterranean needs such as sleeping, thus providing privacy and planes; the mountain upland areas and the desert area protection from environmental conditions for people along the Jordan valley. and their animals. Outdoor spaces were also used for Focusing on rural settlements in the upland areas daily and domestic activities, such as cooking and treat- where most of the historic cities and surrounding villages ing the harvests from the fields. Depending on the are concentrated (Jerusalem, Nablus, Hebron) (Amiran disparity in the social, economic and tribal status of More complicated examples can be traced in villages with clans typically involved in governmental administration, politics and the military, they were richer and are referred to as the“Throne Villages”. Generally, no distinction of religious association like Islam or Christianity reflected on typology of the houses (Doumani 1995, 29–30). 8 Y. SAIFI Figure 3. A view of the abandoned traditional Palestinian village of Lifta, located in Jerusalem. the owners as well as to the nature of work and family climate. It was common to create this interchangeable members, the closed space is divided into two through semi-open space which made use of the varying dif- a raised slab called (Mastabeh or Rawieh), reached ferent degrees of latitude of the sun during the day through a few steps creating an entry space and another and during the different seasons, through the usage of space for family use. Underneath the steps is where the climbing vine trees (Dalieh). The use of such sustain- livestock were kept, to provide protection from theft. able means helped to create different desired condi- The lower entry space is used for food storages (Qa’El- tions in each season. The vine tree will grow in summer beit) if animals were not involved (Hadid 2002). Houses and provide shade protecting the house from the were organized on multiple functionality, like laying direct sunlight while still allowing the air flow. Then, mattresses at night to sleep family members and then during the fall season it will lose its leaves and allow collected during the day and stacked within a niche in direct exposure to the sunlight that can heat the the walls to allow free movement. Other distinct func- house. The vine tree also provided a food supply tions such as toilets, bathrooms and kitchens did not through its leaves and fruits. The use of the climbing exist. trees is also common in residential areas in the dense Although in rural settlements no defined semi- cities in Palestine, which serves as a passive cooling closed spaces were constructed to support the closed system. Often vine trees were planted in large pots on ones, the spatial qualities and relationship customary roof tops and were allowed to spread over a thin mesh in the formation of a Mediterranean hierarchy of creating an overhang that provides shading and pro- spaces between semi-open and closed spaces were tection to the roof, which allowed the space to be used recognized as an important asset by people. The his- as a roof garden. The plants were watered by rain toric and valued technique to create pleasant environ- water that were collected in wells. The careful use of ments through semi-open spaces was achieved available resources created a sustainable means of through a canopy created with the help of climbing planning. For instance, houses and village fences plants in front of the house. This specific outdoor open were achieved through planting cactus plants that but shaded area over a paved slab (referred to as the acted like fences around the houses and villages as mastaba/Saha) acted as a transitional space between means of protection (Figure 4). Also, all houses in the the public/private, outdoor/indoor, and climate/micro- coastal planes and mountain areas utilized respectively JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 9 would cool the rooms at night, whilst the south direc- tion heated the walls and space in winter. This tradition sustained in rural settlements during th the Ottoman period in the late 19 century and early th 20 century and during the British Mandate in the country beginning with the First World War and end- ing with the Israeli occupation in 1948. 3.2. Sustainability and vernacular architecture in Palestine According to iPCC, the building sector is responsible for 32% of energy consumption, with a significant per- centage of this being attributed to residential build- ings (IPCC 2014). Statistics indicate that the housing sector expends most of its energy consumption on achieving thermal comfort through cooling, primarily during summer months (IPCC 2007). That is because many contemporary residential buildings rely heavily on mechanical air conditioning to achieve thermal comfort, especially in hot climates, resulting in high expenditures on electricity bills and a large demand for electric consumption (Fernandes et al. 2020). In light of the growing concern surrounding climate change, numerous scholars and researchers are exploring the Figure 4. The traces of cactus plants acting as fences in the traditional villages. impact of vernacular architecture on sustainability. Evidence suggests that earlier traditional building sand or lime natural stone as a building materials that methods were mindful of their climate, local resources, comprised of large chunks collected from nearby sites, and materials, and incorporated these factors into their built as load bearing walls that can reach up to one- living styles, becoming the basis for strategies and meter thick in some cases and up to four meters in models for sustainable architectural design. These stra- height. In the desert areas, earth-mud bricks replaced tegies include consideration of building form, con- the use of stone. The use of natural materials for the struction materials, orientation, topography, and walls allowed for a suitable micro climate for the users’ vegetation that have the potential to influence the comfort, through acting as barriers to heat transfer. energy required for heating and cooling (Bougdah Roofs were constructed as vaults or groin vaults and Sharples 2010; Sarte 2010), as well as human from stone, with joints that employed mud, dirt, woo- health and indoor thermal comfort. den stems, twigs, reeds or branches depending on Given that each locality has its unique context and availability, earth strata or availability of trees in varying lifestyles, ensuring thermal comfort requires mountain areas (for further reading see Canaan, a thorough analytical approach that considers contex- 1933; Dalman 1964; Jäger 1912). Other primary cli- tual requirements, such as local climatic challenges matic parameters in the space formation in traditional and building development limitations. Achieving ther- houses is taking good advantage of the climatic con- mal comfort is a complex process that not only ditions of the Mediterranean, especially the sun involves spatial organisation and physical adjustments energy both in summer and winter. Houses had mini- to buildings but also integrates human dimensions, mal openings and were located at a higher level of including social interactions and adaptations to cli- the walls, which allowed the hot air to rise and exit mate variations and barriers. Studies are emerging to from these openings. On a larger scale, the dense explore the potential of locally produced design solu- clustering of the houses provided shade on the nar- tions to address issues of thermal comfort in buildings, row alleys and streets outside. This allowed people to particularly in low-income communities (Peker 2022). move and walk protected from the direct sun. Also, Emphasis is given to existing solutions to thermal taking the advantage of one another, houses were comfort through locally produced design solutions attached, which reduced the external wall area and which can be effective in addressing issues related to minimized the exposure of radiant sun and heat into natural ventilation, shading, and insulation, as well as the buildings. Courtyards were able to receive direct the use of local materials and labor (Peker 2022). sunlight, however, making use of the west direction Within a Mediterranean context, many scholarly meant that the summer breeze of the Mediterranean studies emphasized the significance of studying 10 Y. SAIFI vernacular architecture from a sustainability stand- sensitive and sustainable solution (Itma 2014). Other point. Fernandes et al. (2020) have identified similar suggestions include adaptive reuse, which can trans- strategies utilized around the Mediterranean basin in form existing buildings into affordable housing units construction methods and natural ventilation methods and preserve the cultural heritage of the built envir- of vernacular residential architecture. They compared onment (Itma and Salama 2023). Additionally, the cases from several regions, though based on different need to support of incremental housing as cultures. Moreover, other related studies show that a strategy through gradual housing building over many cases around the basin share some common time as an affordable solution for low-income features such as building techniques and the use of families who cannot afford building a complete traditional courtyards to improve thermal performance house at once, especially with the change of the (Galán-Marín et al. 2018). Ozarisoy and Altan (2021) traditional family structure into nuclear (Itma 2015) review of existing literature on the use of bioclimatic and in the face of modernization and globalization design elements in the context of the South-eastern (Amad 2012). Mediterranean climate provided an overview of the Although the literature has largely recognized and theories, methodologies, and case studies related to acknowledged the quality attributes of vernacular bioclimatic design in this region. Their review aims to architecture in Palestine, particularly in contrast to create comfortable and sustainable built environments the inadequate thermal performance of contemporary by harnessing natural elements such as sunlight, wind, residential buildings and envelopes, most of these and water, and they identify the best practices and studies have focused on comparing traditional and areas for further research. recent construction techniques without accounting Research on vernacular architecture in Palestine, for the initial stages of adapting modernity in the which is located in the same Mediterranean region region. This period of transition towards modern stan- and has a rich history of traditional settlements, has dards across the region, including Palestine, remains been limited and scattered across various aspects of insufficiently documented and explored. This era coin- the topic, particularly with regard to socio-cultural cided with the post-colonial period across the Arab values that affect vernacular strategies used in resi- world, during which many nations sought new and dential buildings. Most studies have focused on con- contemporary modes of expression to assert their serving or using vernacular architecture and its independence and openness to the wider world in elements. Abdel Hadi (2013) compared the thermal relation to concepts like regionalism, nationalism, performance and cost of old and contemporary local customs and climate. Recently, a growing litera- buildings in Palestine and found that traditional ture is emerging to show that this neglected period/ buildings had better thermal performance and were region of study has developed identities and qualities more cost-effective. The use of courtyards is a crucial associated with the complex architecture and culture element in achieving better thermal quality in of the “Mediterranean modernism”, defined as Palestine and is argued to be an important traditional a “modern architecture that responds to program building method. Studies have suggested that the with cues derived from vernacular buildings so as to concepts behind the courtyard solution need to be infuse spatial and material concerns with context and re-evaluated and reintroduced in the retrofitting of culture” (Lejeune and Sabatino 2010, 6). Yet, it has existing contemporary residential buildings (Hussein, a distinct tectonics nature of using solid walls and Barlet, and Semidor 2010) and provided clues related characterized with the smooth whitewashed surfaces to improving and enhancing the living quality of and simple volumes, unlike western architecture that residential buildings that could be also attained was associated with the construction of framed sys- with modern housing designs such as balconies, gar- tems of concrete and steel (Lejeune and Sabatino dens and private outdoor spaces as means to 2010, 4). Despite being underestimated and over- enhance sustainability in housing (Hussein, Barlet, looked, a growing number of cases from around the and Semidor 2010). Additional studies based on com- basin are surfacing regarding the adaptation of mod- parative analysis between the vernacular and con- ernity and its mitigation of climate issues at the time temporary discuss parameters related to building through locally produced solutions (see Arbid and materials, openings, and vegetation in both settings, Oswalt 2022; Isenstadt and Kishwar 2008; James- revealing that new development of urban residential Chakraborty 2014). Thus, this article will contribute to buildings lack reference to sustainability (Tawayha, this growing literature by investigating the means and Braganca, and Mateus 2019), especially with high- methods of adapting the modern life whilst still refer- rise and high-density housing. Suggestions to ring to the traditional life and characteristics according improve housing in Palestine include addressing to the local environment, climate and socio-cultural issues related to land use and community participa- values from a sustainable perspective. It will also seek tion during the design process as a culturally to explore which traditional elements were used and JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 11 adapted to the modern houses at the time, why they kitchens, bathrooms and toilets as well as spaces for were lost, and why they are not as prominent in our workers. The stylistic language of the façades varied recent age. and often incorporated a mix of Neoclassical styles such as the Renaissance and Baroque as well as orien- tal. The local building materials and motifs were in 4. Modernity in Jerusalem stone and employed in a broadly Eclectic manner. Traditional load bearing construction including Modernity took place in Palestine and in Jerusalem th vaulted roofs were also common. The use of traditional during the late Ottoman period in the late 19 century. materials, the optimal use of orientation and openings, The occupation of Great Syria including Palestine in and the use of semi-open porticos responded well to 1832 by Mohammad Ali Pasha of Egypt led once more the local climate and provided well-lit and well- to Ottoman control where new reforms were intro- ventilated interiors. Gardens were planted with Citrus, duced in the “Tanzimat” Charter relating to land own- Olive trees, Jasmine and vine trees, and provided ership (Schölch 1984, 460). The new Ottoman shade and gave protection from winter winds. reformation allowed for non-Muslims to own and Therefore, these first attempts towards modernization build in the holy city. The arrival of foreign missionaries are considered as an adaptation of the traditional brought new advancements in the building sector and lifestyle. allowed exposure to emerging technologies and The building techniques and expansion continued affected the architecture of Palestine in major cities. during the British Mandate. However, as a colonial Similarly, new developments in the infrastructure such supremacy, the British imposed modernity as an as the train line (Hijaz) and ports allowed for the trans- abstraction that created social divisions between the formation of ideas and goods and helped in the gra- elites and the peasants, as well as among Palestinians dual modernization of the Ottoman empire and and the new Jewish immigrants (see Crinson 2016; revolutionized building techniques and the importa- Fuchs and Herbert 2000). Thus, while the accumulation tion of new materials (Fuchs 1998). During this period, of the high eclectic styles borrowed from the west is traces of western influences resulting from the exten- seen in the urban fabric, the traditional architecture sive colonization of Europe could be depicted (see Kark continued and maintained its genuine expression and 2002). Thus, the influence was mainly reflected in the characteristics in rural areas (Khasawneh 2001). mansions of the affluent Palestinian residents of the The adoption of modernity in the rural areas around city (the rich, intellectuals) who took residence in areas the main cities as in East Jerusalem advanced only after outside the walled city. The expansion to the outside Jordanian Rule (between 1948 and 1967). This is was possible due to the construction of new roads that because the peasants in the surrounding villages were led to new neighborhoods, which since then had ulti- still dependent on their land cultivation to provide for mately changed all aspects of life and needs that were their living. For many, the use of agricultural land for once centered inside the walled city. development was not economically realistic. However, Although the new mansions of the affluent the changing life style in the Arab world after the ease Palestinians were representative of the “modern” from colonial powers that brought new prosperity (see house, which were detached and included separate Arbid and Oswalt 2022) allowed many of the peasants spatial functions including services, all built under to consider investing in their lands by building houses one roof; they were influenced by the resident’s pre- to sell or rent in accordance with modern standards. vious traditional building’s form, design and construc- Parallel to this, many of the prosperous families who tion methods, which were based upon traditional continued to live within the walled city, realized that living patterns. This influence is believed to anchor the congested life there could not provide the modern on the building form and design of the “three bay” lifestyle of comfort, which encouraged them to rent or houses of Syria and Mount Lebanon; the Turkish buy land from the peasants. At the time, modern “konak” where a free standing house stand detached advances at a national level-like connections to electri- within a single walled garden; the Syrian “Iwan” city and water allowed the newly adapted modernity to a central hall area similar to a courtyard flanked by become the most adopted architectural approach that rooms; and the Venetian rural Palaces ”Villas”. The became widespread in Palestine. This is explored in spatial formation is based on the hierarchy of enclosed, detail in the following sections. open and semi-open spaces (Fuchs and Meyer- Brodnitz 1989). Within the enclosed houses, traditional courtyards were turned into the “Liwan” configuration 4.1. Adaptive modernity in rural East Jerusalem: or the central hall, which is a centrally located closed Phase I space that acts as a transitional space and also allows for daily activities uses such as a living room – that The following became a new type of architecture for leads to other several spaces for guests and the resi- both the peasants and those who could afford a more dents. The mansions also included separate bedrooms, comfortable life, and this became the prevailing trend 12 Y. SAIFI of modernity in Palestine. This architecture embraced use of central heating units: “Our house is the only modern living standards and was the product of skilled one that has an installed central heating system in the builders working between the periods 1948 and 1967 neighborhood. It is made of cast iron, unlike newer and was based on tried and tested precedents. ones that are made of aluminum. It takes longer to Following the war with Israeli in 1948, Jerusalem cool down, but heats up more efficiently. However, it is became divided into East and West, where the East not necessary for this house and is barely used”. became under the Jordanian Rule. With modernity, Besides the liwan, another formal living room new building and construction materials were intro- referred to as the “Salon” was located to the front duced, not only in Palestine but throughout the region, of the houses and had a separate entrance to receive which allowed an exchange that influenced the refor- guests, a reproduction of the Madafah room found in mation of all the social strata’s at the time. The political villages, whilst still having an access from inside the dynamics that allowed for this adoption and exchange house. The protrusion of this room holds both social has been studied thoroughly elsewhere, so the follow- and environmental significance. Socially, it projects ing section will concentrate on the adaptation of mod- a sense of prestige and importance when it comes ernity in residential architecture in terms of its social, to receiving guests, while also maintaining privacy climatic and sustainability aspects. from the rest of the house. Environmentally, the In East Jerusalem, and along the north-south road protrusion provides shade to adjacent balconies, pre- that links the city of Ramallah to Jerusalem and specifi - venting direct sunlight, and its isolation means it cally around Shufat, Beit Hanina, Al Ram and Beir requires minimal energy consumption for heating, Nabala, new neighbourhoods with detached houses except during occasional times. started to emerge. Other areas that were developed in The houses also made use of the new emerging this way include Azarieh and Ras El-Amood to the technologies at the time, namely the use of skeletal south-east of the city. All the houses were built indivi- systems cast in reinforced concrete. Concrete has dually as private detached houses or in some cases enabled the construction of multi-story buildings in apartment buildings with maximum three floors. They a faster time resulting in high productivity in the use were self-built by individual initiatives through afford - and design of spaces resulting in more efficient land able payments and without government subsidies. use. The system and the advantage of curtain walls At the time, one of the key factors in the design of allowed for larger openings, but it also reduced these new modern houses both internally and exter- privacy and solar control, therefore it was avoided. nally, was that of privacy. Externally, this was Externally, the houses were clad in natural stone, as achieved by adhering to the setback regulations an obligation rule enforced in the city since the and by building fences around the plots, which pro- British Mandate. The stone was hewn from nearby vided privacy from neighbours and allowed for air- quarries and cut manually into irregular blocks. The flow and exposure to more sunlight in all directions. mechanical cutting of stone was not available at Internally, all houses included designated functions that time, and it was expensive to refine the stone with separate bedrooms for parents and children in-situ and this led to the use of cheaper rusticated (regardless of gender), as well as toilets, bathrooms stones (Tubzeh). The use of cantilevered slabs for and kitchens. The typical plan configuration of the balconies along with other structural elements houses followed the Liwan scheme (a term still used broke up the flat façades. The projection of some by people today), being approached by the domestic rooms, especially the salon, towards the front breaks and main entrance and this remains an important with the tradition of plain cubical forms, and creates feature of that period. It is adopted and adapted shade and shadows on the side of the buildings. from the traditional courtyard configuration but con- A portico/balcony (referred to as Veranda or tains a covered central hall, which was also featured Baranda in Arabic) is the main feature of the archi- th in urban mansions in the late 19 . The liwan is tecture of this period and is mainly located at the smaller compared to the mansions and acts as both main entrance and to the rear of the building. a transitional space and a living space. Being Multiple balconies were used and kept spacious for enclosed and protected by the surrounding rooms use. Its purpose is not only for use as alternative keeps the space warm in the winter and cool in the space of living according to the seasons but works summer. The fenestration is limited to a small win- as a semi-open space that protects the main rooms dow overlooking the main entrance balcony. It was from receiving direct sunlight. They were deep to observed that the liwan space configuration was keep enough shade and the windows were directly found to be present in all 19 of the houses visited. aligned towards these balconies, which allowed sun- During the visits, some occupants mentioned that: light to penetrate when the angle of the sun was “The space of the liwan is really awkward to lay furni- low in winter. All openings were minimal to control ture, however, it is the warmest room in winter and the sunlight. Toilets and bathrooms had smaller open- coolest in summer”. Another occupant referred to the ings and overlooked the rear or side façades. One of JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 13 the occupants referred to the balcony facing the The attitude towards the environment was also south saying: “We call this the house’s heater. expressed through the sanitary solutions utilized in During sunny winter days, it becomes our living the houses. Although they were connected to water room, and we even receive guests here”. and electricity through the central companies, the The liwan would usually open to a bedroom on one sanitary infrastructure was not available during that side and into a transitional space that leads to period. As a solution, all houses had dug large holes the second bedroom, the toilet/bathroom and the in the backyard, acting as septic tanks, directing the kitchen. All bedrooms were spacious and had two sewage from the bathrooms and kitchens and allowing windows aligned at different locations to allow for it to decompose with the help of planting a Berry or an cross ventilation. Kitchens were the smallest rooms, Eucalyptus tree nearby. These trees rapidly absorb the as fridges and cooking stoves were not available at surplus waste water and release pure water vapour, as that time and cooking still took place in traditional such they prevented the overflow of the ditches and stoves. A dining table was positioned at the centre of grew rapidly creating shade to the buildings. Along the kitchen as there was no separate dining area. with that, gardens were planted with Citrus, Olive However, most kitchens have access to the garden and other trees, and watered from the well that col- through the back balcony, and food drying according lected rainwater from the flat roofs of the buildings. to the harvests of the seasons took place there. Some However, during the time, the city lacked proper urban occupants complained about the small size of the planning or even a land registry. General rules and kitchen, however, in relation to heat and cooling regulations were set regarding heights, setbacks but issues, one mentioned that: “the kitchen overlooks the no areas designated for public use or open recreational north-west, I prefer this location, I never need a heater space. Gardens acted as spaces for recreation. here” when asked why, she referred to the lack of need The houses of this period displayed a consideration of heating the space in winter, as the heat of the oven of sustainability whilst adapting traditional life into and the cooking steam in winter heats the small space modern living. Although there are some variations in and it is also shaded in the in summer by the balcony terms of proportion, regularity and flexibility among the and do not receive direct sunlight. houses, they comply with modernity’s general approach The introduction of toilets and bathrooms to problem-solving through tackling the issues of func- expressed modernity through expressions of hygiene. tionality that are shaped according to their living style, Internal plumbing and running water pipes allowed culture and environment. Progressiveness of people toilets to be integrated into the main house. Ceiling aligned with the apprehension of sustainable living is heights of the houses were higher than distinctive as they treated their building as “never fin - three meters to allow hot air to rise. The bathrooms ished”. To them, houses were meant to grow according however had lower ceilings as storage was located in to their possible future changing needs, an example is the space above and were accessed by a ladder from leaving location of columns on the roof slab accessible the adjacent rooms. The upper room provided extra in case of new additions. storage space (Sideh – meaning attic) and maintained the low bathroom ceiling, which according to some 4.2. Alterations and additions: Phase II residents this enabled the hot air generated by the steam of the showers to heat the space in winter and After 1967 and following people’s previous experience not needing a heater. and trials in adopting modernity, new changing needs Regarding heaters and heating of spaces, most urged people to carry adaptations and alterations houses initially relied on portable and limited gasoline further. During this period, a second generation of chil- heaters during winter and did not install wall-mounted dren needed housing. Generally, the families in air conditioning units. Occupants mentioned that this Palestine provide a living space for their male children was the only heating source available and affordable at when reaching the age of marriage. As such, people the time and it allowed them to move it with them to were building/adding new floors that had self- the different spaces they use during the different time contained flats according to the number of their chil- of the day. An occupant mentioned that: “locating the dren. This was realized through vertical expansion tech- heater in any of the rooms allows us to heat the space nologies and was more convenient and cheaper than within minutes, as we can close off the rooms and seal it purchasing another plot and building from scratch. from the rest of the house. Whilst in summer, we open all Additions during the modern period replicated the cus- the doors to allow air to circulate”. Other portable meth- tomary expansion in traditional settlements for ods included the use of woolen carpets instead of syn- extended families, but this time vertically. Thus, accord- thetic ones to warm up their living spaces, as wool is ing to modern living standards, each nuclear family a natural insulator and can help retain heat, making it occupied a floor in these vertical flats. Many of the a good choice for cold climates. During summer, these houses observed had added one or more floor on top carpets were stored away to keep the ground cool. whilst keeping the same footprint of the existing floor. 14 Y. SAIFI Comparing the new additions to the existing floors, orientation. Climatically, the balconies at the rear the new floors acted as a revision to the earlier façade around the bedrooms allowed these semi- attempts built before 1967 (Figure 5), which considers open spaces to act as shading, protecting rooms the issue of functionality and a more practical use of from direct sunlight in summer, whilst still allowing spaces. Thus, new additions attain privacy based on it to reach the rooms in winter. The sizes of the the social life through a more appropriate spatial orga- balconies followed the same size and proportion of nization, based on the hierarchy of private-public the existing ones below. An important climatic con- spaces. The liwan plan configuration kept its general sideration was the fact that single housing units characteristics as a transitional and living space at the occupied the total floor, which allowed the houses same time. It centralizes the house and is flanked with to receive the different directions of the sunlight. other rooms. However, in some cases, the wall that Thus, families continued to use the different balco- separated the liwan from the main front balcony was nies at different time of the day and according to removed, allowing a larger open-plan configuration. the different seasons. This allowed a better organisation of furniture and The fact that the same extended family occupied better use of space like locating a formal dining table. the same building on a single fenced plot allowed all The liwan as such continued to be protected from family members to use the garden. At the time, cars direct sunlight in summer and is kept warmer in winter. were limited and streets were not as dense as today, The new flats encompassed enlarged kitchens allowing people to park outside or allocating a small (often replacing the main bedroom) and improved portion of the garden for parking purposes. The rest of the connection to the liwan. This helped to main- the garden was a place where children would play and tain privacy for the bedrooms, which were located share with their relatives, as public parks and recrea- to the back and separated from the rest of the tional spaces did not exist in the city. What was also house through a transitional space unlike previous important was the street feeling/environment. Since footprints. A main bathroom centralizes the two people owned these houses they cared for the clean- bedrooms. Now that kitchens were closer to the ing and general maintenance together with their living space, they continued to be closed and neighbours. secluded rather than being open to the living Aesthetically, these houses adopted similar details space. According to one of the occupant, it was to keep up with the existing floor/s, like the use of the essential to avoid aligning kitchens towards the same stone type and colour when possible, and similar west, where the wind flow would carry cooking proportions and size of openings. However, the new smell into the house rather than pushing it to the Israeli administration in the city brought in new outside. He stated that: “We learned from my advancements in the building sector with materials mother’s house on the ground floor that when the and other decorative elements influencing the archi- kitchen faced west, the whole house would smell.” He tecture to come. This allowed the exploration of color- also emphasized that: “the bedrooms are now sepa- ful ceramic tiles in bathrooms, replacing the white rated from the rest of the rooms and we only use smaller tiles as well as floor tiles that used the mechani- them when we go to sleep. They all now face west, cally poured terrazzo tiles rather than the decorative which allows for a good summer breeze at night handmade ones. Thus, wrought iron sanitation lines while sleeping”. This was attainable due to the fact are replaced by PVC pipes exposed to the side of the that piping (water and sewage) was exposed rather buildings as sanitation infrastructure was implemented than embedded within the walls, which allowed for in the city. It is also very common to see antennas in flexibility in changing the layout. Nevertheless, as the form of the Eiffel tower at the roof tops of these flats were located at higher floors and were houses, it is only for decorative reasons but indicated accessed via stairs, direct access to the salon was that the television was available in almost all of the not possible from the outside. In the new spatial houses (Figure 6). organization, visitors were guided into the salon This period was much affected by the turbulence of through the liwan. the First Intifada (in 1987) due to the limitation in eco- The success of these alterations and adaptations nomic conditions, strikes, closures, etc., which led to the to reflect modern living styles, is dependent upon signing of the Oslo Accords between the Palestinians social and environmental considerations, as in the and Israelis and later resulted in the separation of East use of balconies, opening-wall ratios and Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. Although many people were building new houses during this period and were influenced by post-modernity that affected the stylistic approach of the houses, through employing more new plan typologies, ornamentation on façades and opening started to look like arches that were larger. These cases are not surveyed here and demand a separate study. However, this part concentrates on the additions made to the houses that already existed during the period of the Jordanian Rule. A peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which was signed in 1993 and mainly aimed to allow Palestinians self- determination and led to the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority over the West Bank and eventually East Jerusalem. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 15 Figure 5. Schematic analysis of houses from Phase I and II. 5. Contemporary context and new housing availability as well as the inflated real estate sector in development in East Jerusalem general. The physical separation, which was also accompanied by the drawing of new municipal bor- The building of the Separation Wall early 2000 around ders, excluded many neighborhoods from the suburbs Jerusalem led to its isolation from the rest of the West Bank, which had affected the housing character and of East Jerusalem where many Palestinians had lived. 16 Y. SAIFI fabric towards the rural settlements, and ultimately led to changes in their character. The new private developments that emerged as a result are based on unsustainable considerations leading a serious degradation in quality of life. Their dominating nature over the environment and their density is an outcome of repetitive and standardized building patterns that depend on identical layouts and similar construction building materials and techniques (Figure 7). Aside from the lack of concerns towards sustainability, the new developments do not have a satisfactory quality in all aspects such as environmen- tal, socio-cultural or spatial. Additionally, housing reg- ulations imposed by Israeli administration that are grounded on the pluralistic approaches depicted around the world, lack policies towards offsetting the cost and supply in the housing market either by market control or through the provision of subsidies to Palestinians. Further inequalities both physically and socio-economically are being created in the East. Similarly, the changing needs of the society in East Jerusalem, along with the restrictive building laws that do not grant Palestinians adequate building percen- tages on their own land unlike West Jerusalem, and there are still wide discrepancies between both parts Figure 6. A typical television antenna in the form of Eiffel tower. of the city (Bimkom 2014; NRC 2017). This has led to inappropriate architectural practices that negate the This was reinforced further through other laws, such as tried and progressive initial approaches of modernity that adapted the lifestyle of earlier traditional settings. the “centre of life policy” that restricts Palestinian One of the problems of recent houses is the limited Jerusalemites from living outside these borders internal space in order to minimize the high taxes (Jefferis 2012). The social segregation and physical imposed on housing (Arnona) that factors in size and separation had forced Jerusalemites living outside the location. In order to achieve more flats to increase borders to abandon their houses, and seek alternatives profit and to fulfill the growing need, the area is limited within a very limited area designated for Palestinians in between 80 and 120 square meters perr flat. That is East Jerusalem (for further reading see Saifi and since the larger the area is the larger the housing taxes Samman 2019). This had placed an economic burden are, which puts a large burden on the Palestinians on people and increased the cost of land and construc- residents who suffer lower income compared to tion. Furthermore, the lack of urban planning in East Israelis living in the same city. The house taxation Jerusalem, and the absence of a holistic approach and also uphold limits to the apartment sizes to a maximum of 120 square meters, by increasing enor- strategies to control demand and supply in the hous- mously the calculation of taxation fees per meter ing sector, allowed the market to impose profit- square when exceeding this area. The limitation of oriented strategies and not to act as part of an “integral the houses size affected the social and cultural living social mechanism”. This led to serious problems and styles of its residents. The limited indoor space hin- environmental degradations. Natural demographic dered receiving guests and carrying many traditions growth had also complicated the issue of housing and customs on several occasions such as holiday availability as younger generations that sought hous- celebrations, funerals, birthdays, and weddings that ing within the limited area were not able to afford the are celebrated in rented halls. high cost within the available housing stock. The The high cost of land and permissions together with increase in demand led to a haphazard new develop- restrictive laws made it difficult for people to experi- ment of housing and uncontrolled growth of the urban ment in the building design, space, forms and even A policy, which the Israeli ministry of interior began implementing in 1995. It is enforced only on Palestinians holding Jerusalem identity cards to live within the new defined municipal borders in order to maintain their legal status in the country. Palestinians are still required to provide documented proof that their “centre of life” is within these boundaries (Jefferis 2012). An average apartment around 120 meter square can cost today around half a million U.S. Dollars in East Jerusalem. while the average rent price varies between 1000–1500 U.S. Dollars per month. JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 17 Figure 7. A sample of the new contemporary housing development in East Jerusalem. façade details. Land owners, developers and construc- configuration, such as the inappropriate location of tion firms were using this situation to develop housing certain functions that do not take advantage of sun with reduced costs with the primary goal to increase orientation. To protect more common areas such as profit margins, which resulted in more commercially living and dining from heat transfer, rooms that are based solutions that are standardized, with monoto- used less frequently during the day, like toilets, bath- nous architectural elements based on repetition and rooms, and laundry rooms, should be positioned in uniformity, to allow optimal and rational solutions in a more efficient way as buffers. However, this is not time and space. Hence, the new developments ignored the case in the new developments. The cases ana- the spatial organisation that is based on the interaction lyzed show that they follow an open plan scheme, between indoor and outdoor and the introverted spa- which includes the kitchen, dining space, and the tial organisation has become inevitable. living space. They do not apply the buffering strategy With regard to the new contemporary develop- to contain spaces for proper heating or cooling ments selected for this study, three developers’ web- according to the seasons, abandoning any reference sites have provided plan typologies, areas, and 3D to the traditional courtyard scheme and the liwan drawings of flats that are currently under construction and the responsive-climate efficiency design solution and are being offered for sale (Al-Tameer 2023; associated with it. Bounyan 2023; Yaboosre 2023). A total floor plan has Another design problem in the new developments is been redrawn schematically and analyzed, as shown in the insufficient degree of semi-open spaces to provide Figure 8. The evaluation is based on the orientation of greater human comfort within the design. In many the buildings, the sizes and locations of different cases, it is limited to one single small balcony that is rooms, the sizes of openings, semi-open spaces in the not deep enough to be used by people for hanging form of balconies, ventilation of service rooms and laundry and storage, and in many cases, they are built their locations, and the general layout of the main without a roof. As seen in the cases, each flat is entitled living spaces. to one balcony only, which is relatively the size of the As demonstrated in the three representative cases in toilet. Besides, none of the examples shown have Figure 8, many of the houses rely on electromechanical a balcony located towards the south. The use of balco- resources and energy consumption to heat and cool the nies with no shaded overhang, or random positioning spaces during winter and summer. Since floors have without taking benefits of the orientation, is also notice- more than one attached housing unit, they cannot able. Another examined issue is the use of simple planar provide an equal distribution of sunlight and ventila- forms instead of utilizing the projection of certain tion. For example, some rooms may overheat in the spaces scheme as a method to create shade and sha- summer, and many are disadvantaged from benefiting dows to control exposure to direct sunlight. from cross-ventilation due to having only one window. On a larger scale, the positioning of more high-rise Upon closer inspection of the cases, it becomes evident buildings in proximity to each other or even next to that the majority of the bedrooms only have one win- a low-rise building based on the same set-backs stan- dow. While large windows (sometimes ceiling to floor) dards. This variety in building heights affects the open are oriented towards the south without the use of space in between and forms an obstacle in allowing shading elements to prevent heat gain in the summer. the flow of air, and some buildings to benefit from the Additionally, the relatively low ceiling height, which is sun, wind and sometimes view by creating shadows standardized to less than three meters, is further low- that drops onto adjacent building façades. ered by the use of false ceilings to install electrical and Similar problems also apply to services such as toilets, mechanical systems, which trap hot air close to human bathrooms, and kitchens, which are typically ventilated activities. through small windows that open into a common shaft. Another problem is the haphazard spatial organi- However, these shafts are often proportionally inade- sation of the functions/rooms within the plan quate in terms of their width-to-height ratio, which 18 Y. SAIFI Figure 8. Schematic analysis of the new contemporary houses plan morpholog. prevents adequate light and ventilation from entering techniques used across all cities and regions in Palestine these spaces and forces people to rely on artificial lighting and Jerusalem, without regard for the distinctive environ- during the day. In the cases analyzed, it was found that mental and climatic conditions of each area. most flats have bathrooms and toilets that lack a direct Considering the new housing developments (that are opening to the outside, even when they are located on still scarce and limited) offered in the market for those exterior walls providing windows is often avoided. who could afford to buy them is challenging on a social This poor design outcome is not the only issue; and environmental level. As the land is limited in size and another critical problem is the standardized construction extends vertically to include more flats and therefore JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 19 Table 5. Evaluation criteria based on attributes of climatic-responsive architecture design for the case studies. (A) Criteria (B) Details Phase I Phase II Contemporary Cooling/passive Medium-sized and limited windows. √ √/X X cooling Thermal buffering of main living space. √ √/X Microclimate control with deep and efficient semi-open spaces, such as balconies, shading. √ √ X Use of balconies according to different sun directions. √ √ X Use of opening towards west to harness summer breeze. √ √ √/X Use of shading elements on openings facing south. √ √ X High ceiling. √ √ X Projection of form (i.e., non-planner) to create shades and shadows. √ √ √/X Use of vegetation and trees. √ √ √/X Green cover of gardens. √ √ X Avoid paved solid surfaces for car parking. X X √/X Heating Many windows facing south for maximum sunlight exposure. √ √ X Thermal buffering of main living space. √ √ X Avoiding open plans and isolating rooms. √ √ X Small-sized windows towards the north and west. √ √ X Low bathroom ceilings for better heating. √ √ X Natural Sunlight and wind penetration to all rooms. √ √ √/X ventilation/lighting Sunlight and wind penetration to bathrooms and kitchens. √ √ √/X Cross ventilation with a minimum of two opposite windows per room. √ √ X Single apartment per floor (i.e. not attached in the same floor). √ √ X Legend: √ used, X not-used; √/X varies. more families, the ground floor area is designated usually the middle of the last century as means to meet new for car maneuver and parking. This leaves very limited expectations. The study does not view this as space for the creation of a shared garden and a place for a negative development, but rather as a progressive vegetation. Thus, due to the fact that the residents do not and humanistic attitude. People in East Jerusalem belong to the same family, privacy issues become critical. made choices based on their affordability, abilities, As a solution, it became common to designate part of the social and cultural needs, whilst considering the envir- garden to ground floor flats only and enclosing it with onmental and climatical factors, adapting to changes fences. Doing so would allow investors to sell these flats in time and space. Modernity was not simply a matter for a higher price, which also creates further problems on of style, but a constructive means to embrace advance- the well-being of the residents occupying the upper floors ments while retaining the identity and characteristics who cannot enjoy the outdoor space (for further reading of the locality. However, today, much of the new devel- see Samman and Saifi 2022). Nevertheless, the lack of opment in the city are abandoning references to the investment in public spaces along a dilapidated infra- traditional life. structure in East Jerusalem is also accompanied with the To highlight the problems associated with new lack of investment in transportation system, which contemporary development and to determine the encourages a dependency on personal cars. Climatically, attributes of a responsive architectural design that the lack of greenery and vegetation around the apart- takes into account the advantages of the ment in favour of asphalt surfaces helps in reflecting and Mediterranean climate in Jerusalem, an evaluation trapping the heat. Moreover, due to the high cost, people criteria is established as shown in Table 5. The evalua- avoid to dig and build wells or make good use of the tion is generated according to two bases: (A) general natural resources such as collecting rain water, which criteria derived through content analysis validated could help to grow plants and trees. through the systematic literature of this study pre- This kind of architecture cannot evolve or change in sented in the methodology section; and (B) detailed taxonomies retrieved from morphological analysis of space and time. The rigidity of this architecture does the cases that correlate with the criteria in (A). While not allow people to alter or change their living spaces column (C), (D) and (E) evaluate the general approach physically and aesthetically. The once sustainable atti- of design strategies detected from the field study in tude rooted in the Palestinian culture of keeping the Phase I, Phase II and contemporary developments, possibilities of future need and change is lost and respectively. The general criteria of the extensive lit- ultimately it means the loss of cultural continuity and erature review were extracted through the use of its spirit. VOSviewer version 1.6.19 (0), where all 82 articles collected from the Scopus Database were uploaded and visualized. Figure 9 shows that each node repre- 6. Discussion sents a keyword used in the 82 analyzed articles, with Thus far, the study has shown that the physical form of the size of the node reflecting the frequency of the traditional dwelling in East Jerusalem, which was “occurrence” (the larger occurrences are, the larger rooted in people’s living style, accommodation needs the node is). The keywords were initially set by select- and responsive to the culture, environment and cli- ing the unit of analysis to “All Keywords” and setting mate, was abandoned in favor of modernity during the minimum occurrence to 10. The program clusters 20 Y. SAIFI Figure 9. Network visualization of identified keywords retrieved from literature review using VOSviewer. keywords utilized in the uploaded articles according following issues (omitting keywords that has to do to their occurrence, representing the concentration of with methodological approaches and including the a certain domain. Keywords that are irrelevant, such larger nodes): passive cooling/cooling, heating, and as “article”, “China”, “India”, “Tropical”, and “Malaysia”, natural ventilation/ventilation. Accordingly, in rela- were excluded. The lines connecting the nodes and tion to climate responsive architectural design and their thickness represent the correlation degree following the morphological analysis retrieved from between the keywords, which is typically used in the field study data, the following criteria are set mapping to inspect the degree of cooperation in co- under three attributes. authorship and systematic analysis in areas of focus in The comparison presented in Table 5 shows that the publications. However, in this study, the lines architecture associated with the modern period in the between the keywords are switched to neutral and city in Phase I and Phase II is closer to achieve thermal kept in grey with similar thicknesses, as the study is comfort through the elements of design and plan not looking for such correlations. The 82 publications typologies that are based on the traditional life more yielded 45 keywords clustered in four groups. Among than the contemporary developments. The architec- the top most occurring keywords, excluding the main ture of the modern period in Jerusalem displays keywords “thermal comfort” and “vernacular architec- a homogeneous approach to plan layouts, spatial orga- ture” that were already set in the Scopus database, nisation and employment of design elements asso- are “ventilation” with 58 occurrences, “natural venti- ciated with bioclimatic and thermal comfort lation” with 41 occurrences, “architectural design” consideration, that demonstrates a cultural continuity with 41 occurrences, and “thermal performance” and preserves the Palestinian identity in modern stan- with 41 occurrences, among others with less occur- dards. They also represent an adaptive interpretation rence. This means that the attributes related to clima- of the traditional setting and emphasize on tically responsive architectural design, including the balance between the traditional and contemporary decisions related to technically and socially organiz- life that is built by people and builders and are locally ing people’s life and spaces, are the most common produced. among scholars and validate the criteria to evaluate While, the contemporary developments reflect the cases of this study in that respect. Also, looking at how Jerusalemites are tangled to seek refuge in the cluster related to “thermal comfort” in red, the their city in order to maintain their identity and subjects with the largest occurrences include the right to continue to live in their city in the wake of JOURNAL OF ASIAN ARCHITECTURE AND BUILDING ENGINEERING 21 limitations imposed through laws and regulations shading and to increase air moisture that facili- that are politically grounded, this is shown to be tates cooling the airflow before it reaches the also affecting their thermal comfort and their depen- building. dency on electromechanical solutions pushing ● Consider using roof gardens as common spaces further economic burdens in terms of energy con- for entertainment, which can also function as sumption and inflated real estate prices. Thus, the insulation when shaded by climbing vine trees. Jerusalem municipality, that sets these rules along ● Avoid high garden walls that block airflow to with professionals, policy makers, designers and neighboring plots, especially in hilly topographies. architects, is aiding in the climate change challanges. ● For low-income families, consider incremental Whilst the change of such policies is tied to political housing as an affordable strategy that allows negotiations that lay beyond the scope of this article, building homes gradually over time. some design strategies and guidelines can be fol- lowed to achieve better sustainable quality even Although the above have been discussed and articu- within the limitations imposed by the building lated through a qualitative approach based on obser- codes and regulations according to the followings: vation and ethnographic research, more quantitative studies will be necessary to evaluate the different Protection through buffering strategies of the housing typologies of each period in Jerusalem. This main living areas where families spend most of can help to develop further approaches that can con- their time, by placing service rooms (e.g., toilets, tribute to the quality of indoor spaces. bathrooms, laundry) as buffers towards undesir- able sun orientation and wind to help reduce the 7. Conclusion need for mechanical air conditioning and improve passive cooling. The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the Limiting the size of windows and avoid using housing environment in East Jerusalem through large openings. Also, place more windows facing considering the role of locally developed architec- south for better intake of winter sun, which also tural design solutions in relation to thermal comfort respect privacy and cultural norms. in the modern houses in East Jerusalem. This has Provide deep, shaded balconies or other shading helped to identify sustainability indicators by con- elements towards the south and west direction. sidering climate-responsive architectural design in If designing dettached flats on each floor is inevi- the city based on an analytical assessments and table, allow all housing units to face south to evaluation of several housing cases that emerged optimize solar orientation. at different periods. The study has argued that Ensure that all rooms have enough openings for modern architecture, that was adapted from the natural ventilation, including kitchens and traditional life of Palestinians, has the capacity to bathrooms. provide thermal comfort and can be responsive to Encourage cross ventilation and airflow, by pro- climatical, environmental and social aspects. These viding multiple openings facing different direc- successful examples can help professionals, tions within the same space. designers and policy makers to re-conceptualize Instead of using open-plan layouts design solu- the issue of thermal comfort and responsive archi- tions, consider subdividing spaces for better tem- tectural design solutions during the production of perature control in both summer and winter. contemporary housing by taking into account the Use design strategies to create shade and shadow local social values and climate. And a need for an through projecting masses as buffers to main liv- immediate intervention is necessary. Thhere is ing space, rather than relying on flat, planar a loss in the sense of seasonal change, accompa- forms. nied with drought winters and continuous heat Increase ceiling heights in main rooms for more waves in Jerusalem that leads to the consumption efficient cooling of living spaces in the summer. of energy resources all around the year. A proper And decrease ceiling heights of bathrooms ecological site and building proposal can be through creating attics above to allow for better attained by designing with the climate, a valuable heating of bathrooms with water steam in winter asset that allows for comprehensive design in har- and extra storage space. mony with the environment. The local climate Avoid using ground floor gardens for parking, and including its positive and negative aspects, if con- instead use underground solutions. Design gar- sidered properly, would allow for the buildings to den areas to allow planting with indigenous take good advantage. For instance, allowing sun- plants that require less watering and can be inter- light penetration into the building by maximizing changed seasonally, such as Vine trees, Olive the number of openings facing the south, control- trees, and citrus trees as a strategy to provide ling their size and providing efficient shading 22 Y. SAIFI elements. More common spaces, such as the living She was the Dean of Hind Al Husseini – Faculty of Arts, at Al- Quds University. Her research interests are architectural aes- rooms should take advantage of the conditions of thetics, design and conflict studies. Saifi is a member of the wind and sunlight direction and strength, and different committees related to urban planning, restoration its direction and orientation should be accounted and conservation of historic buildings and the MA program for. Making use of cooling breezes in hot summer in Jerusalem Studies at AQU. 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Journal of Asian Architecture and Building Engineering – Taylor & Francis
Published: Jun 30, 2023
Keywords: Sustainability; modernity; climate-responsive design; housing; East Jerusalem
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