DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) is an architectural studio and art residency programme based in Beit Sahour, Palestine. DAAR’s work combines conceptual speculations and pragmatic spatial interventions, discourse and collective learning. DAAR explores possibilities for the reuse, subversion and profanation of actual structures of domination: from evacuated military bases to the transformation of refugee camps, from uncompleted governmental structures to the remains of destroyed villages.

DAAR co-directors: Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti

mailalessandropetti@gmail.com Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti http://www.decolonizing.ps/site/about/ at their home in Bethlehem
Proto Credit: Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

In the last ten years, from Palestine, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti have developed a research-project based artistic practice that is both theoretically ambitious and practically engaged in the struggle for justice and equality. They founded Campus in Camps, an experimental educational program hosted in Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Bethlehem with the aims to overcome conventional educational structures by creating a space for critical and grounded knowledge production connected to greater transformations and the democratization of society. Camus in Camps has today offshoot in other Palestinian camps and is linked in a consortium with universities around the world. – www.campusincamps.ps – In 2007 with Eyal Weizman they founded DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) in Beit Sahour, Palestine, with the aim to combine an architectural studio and an art residency able to gathered together architects, artists, activists, urbanists, film-makers, and curators to work collectively on the subjects of politics and architecture –  www.decolonizing.ps –

Hilal was the head of the Infrastructure and Camp Improvement Program in the West Bank at UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) from 2008 to 2014. Alessandro Petti has written on the emerging spatial order dictated by the paradigm of security and control in Archipelagos and enclaves (Bruno Mondadori, Milan 2007) and more recently Petti and Hilal co-authored with Eyal Weizman the book Architecture after Revolution (Sternberg, Berlin 2014) an invitation to rethink today’s struggles for justice and equality not only from the historical perspective of revolution, but also from that of a continued struggle for decolonization.

In Hilal and Petti’s practice, contemporary art exhibitions are at the same time a site of display, material production, research and political imagination. The participation in various international exhibitions, among them the Biennale di Venezia (2003-2008-2009-2013-2015), Istanbul Biennial (2009), Home Works Beirut (2010), Bienal de São Paulo (2014), the Asian Art Biennial (2015), Marrakesh Biennial (2016), and Qalandia International (2016) aimed to investigate and act upon the formation of different social, political and spatial relation between people, state and territory beyond the liberal notion of citizenship. The practical implications of these conceptual and artistic interventions have been tested more concretely with architectural interventions in refugee camps. In 2014 the Shu’fat School for Girls was inaugurated for 1,000 students, teachers and local organizations as an expression of dignity and strength of the refugee community living in overcrowded refugee camps. Further, in 2015 these practices led to the construction of a “Concrete Tent” in the garden of the Al Finiq Cultural Center in Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, a pavilion that embodies the contradiction of the permanent temporariness of Palestinian refugees.

Their artist practice has received the following awards: Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College, Loeb Fellowship Harvard University, Price Claus Prize for Architecture, shortlisted for Visible Award, the Curry Stone Design Price, the New School’s Vera List Center Prize for Art and Politics, the Anni and Heinrich Sussmann Artist Award , the Chrnikov Prize and recipient of the Foundation for Art initiatives grant.

Alessandro Petti is a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University and a professor in Architecture and Social Justice at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

DAAR board members: Ghaida Rahil (Board Director), Cristina Al-Shaib (Treasurer), Maher Qassis (deputy board director), Wafa Qumsieh (board member), Lia Musleh (board  member), Issa Andoni (board member), Sawsan Khair (board member), Arwa Shomali (financial officer).

DAAR international coordinator: Husam Abu Salem

DAAR residents: (2016) Nathan Witt, Mais Musleh, Riccardo Maroso, Gador Luque, Elsa Koehler, Sandy Rashmawi, Isshaq Al-Barbary (2015) Haneen Abo Khiran, Lucia Disluci, Nathan Witt, Dalia Abu Hashish, Lucia Maffei (2014) Margo Van Den Berge, Eduardo Cassina, Liva Dudareva, Arne Carpentier, Nick Axel, Jacob Burns (2012) Lorenzo Pezzani, Sanne Van Den Breemer, Patricia Fernandes, Gabriel A. Cuellar, Zhongqi Ren, Sai Shu, Rizki M. Supratman, Lieven De Cauter (2011) Nicola Perugini, Sonia Arw, Benoît Burquel, Luisa Cerlini, Elisa Ferrato, Alesssandra Gola, Suzanne Harris-Brandts, Benjamin Leclair-Paquet, Michael Baers, Amina Bech (2010) Sean Murphy, Marco Cerati, Ahmad Barclay, Merlin Eayrs, Sebastiaan Loosen, Marcella Rafaniello, Maria Rocco, Mahdi Sabbagh, Bert Ruelens, Nina Valerie Kolowratnik, Tashy Endres, Diego Segatto (2009) Allegra Martin, Roberto Sartor, Armina Pilav, Sara Pellegrini, Mario Abruzzese, Francesca Vargiu, Beatrice Catanzaro (2008) Bianca Elzenbaumer, Fabio Franz, Vincezo Castella, Anne Gough, Zakiya Hanafi, Jake Himmel, Jesse Long, Salvatore Porcaro, Francesca Recchia, Lorenzo Romito.


Jury statement about Decolonizing Architecture in the occasion of   Award

DAAR research and practice

DAAR is a combination of an architectural studio and a residency program. DAAR aims to use spatial practice as a form of political intervention. DAAR’s program has gathered together architects, artists, activists, urbanists, film-makers, and curators— to work collectively on the subjects of politics and architecture.

The architectural studio and art residency was established with the aim of engaging with a complex set of architectural problems centered on one of the most difficult dilemmas of political practice: how to act both propositionally and critically in an environment in which the political force fields, as complex as they may be, are so dramatically skewed. Are interventions at all possible? How can we find an “autonomy of practice” that is both critical and transformative?

To engage in architecture in a zone of occupation and oppression is to engage in a less-than-ideal world. This has not only
 to do with the violence that contaminates every aspect of our life, but with determining the point in time from which speculation could begin. Conflicts create a sense of post­ponement. Architecture tends to await the post­conflict stage, or to imagine it at least. But ours is an endless struggle and still, people and groups have different perceptions of what the desired post­conflict state might be—a desired state of affairs or a desired State?

The only state we know is a state of conflict and struggle.

Thinking politics through architecture helps us enter the problem from another direction. Our architecture is not about determining a utopia of ultimate satisfaction, but simply starting from what exists—the present state of affairs and its material manifestation, from the rubble “unceasingly piled before our feet”. Our way of work seeks to find and utilize cracks and loopholes within existing colonial systems of separation and control.

As such, it deals with the stuff that might be called “real existing colonialism” and the trash it leaves behind. These include built structures, infrastructure, land ownership, and legal systems alike. Each of these elements enforces separations of a different nature and by different means.

Instead of critical distance we sought critical proximity. Our wish was to inhabit the subject of our study, to become part of the constellation of forces that shapes our environment.

Although our form of research and practice is collective, relational, and active, it would be wrong to think of it as “activist.” We do not work in an ameliorative manner; we have never proposed the kind of informal architecture we see worldwide promoted as a solution to alleviate poverty; we do not use photography to reveal injustice or protest it. Rather we have sought to establish a different balance between withdrawal and engagement, action in the world and research, fiction and proposal. Our work should neither be interpreted as an attempt to articulate an architectural utopia nor as a political instrument for “denouncing” or “mobilizing public opinion.” Our practice is not reactive to dominant forms of power; instead it has a different temporality.

In a place like Palestine the risk is in becoming dependent on the frenetic rush of mainstream reporting. We envision our practice instead as an attempt to produce a space from which it is possible to operate in the here and now but with radical long-term transformative visions.

We want to find a place for architecture to act in the world and not in the service of a pre-existing agenda. Our architecture has materialized in both built and political space, and in the cultural collective imagination of actors— in meetings and presentations, in legal challenges, in negotiations…

DAAR architectural proposals are a combination of fiction and reality. Their effects could be the opening of the political imagination.

Architecture After Revolution


جمعية دار للتخطيط المعماري والفني

جمعية دار للتخطيط المعماري والفني عبارة عن مكتب معماري وبيت للإقامة الفنية ومقرها في بيت ساحور, فلسطين.  ان طبيعة عمل الجمعية يجمع ما بين الابحاث المفاهيمية والتدخلات المعمارية, كما ويجمع بين الخطاب العام والتعلم الجماعي. بدورها تسعى الجمعية في بحث واستكشاف إمكانيات إعادة استخدام الهياكل المتعرضة للهيمنة والتخريب, سواء كانت هذه الهياكل عبارة عن قواعد عسكرية تم اجلائها او مخيمات لاجئين مرت في تحولات عديدة منذ نشئتها اوهياكل حكومية غير مكتملة البناء او بقايا قرى فلسطينية مدمرة.

 حازت الجمعية على جائزة Price Claus للعمارة وتم تصنيفها للقائمة الاخيرة لجائزة Foundation for Art Initiative  و Iakov Chernikhov. كما و قامت دار بعرض اعمالها في العديد من المعارض والمتاحف والبيانليات حول العالم اهمها: ,Venice Biennale Home Works in Beirut, the Istanbul Biennial, the Bozar in Brussels, , NGBK in Berlin The Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Architekturforum Tirol in Innsbruk, the Tate in London, the Oslo Triennial, the Centre Pompidou in Paris وغيرها العديد.

ساندي هلال و اليساندرو بيتي معماريين وباحثين في مجال التخطيط الحضري، هما المؤسسين والمديريين لجمعية دار. بجانب البحث والممارسة العملية، هلال و بيتي مشاركون في علم اصول التدريس كما و قاموا بانشاء برنامج تعليم تجريبي تحت عنوان “جامعة في المخيم”  في مخيم الدهيشة في بيت لحم بالتشارك مع جامعة القدس وبالتعاون مع لجان خدمات مخيمات الجنوب وباستضافة جمعية الفينيق الخيرية  (www.campusincamps.ps).

في الآونة الأخيرة شاركوا بكتابة – العمارة بعد الثورة – (Sternberg, Berlin 2014) والذي يمثل دعوة لاعادة التفكير في الصراعات الحالية نحو العدل و المساواة ، ليس فقط من المنظور التاريخي للثورة ولكن بالإضافة الى صراع مستمر لإنهاء الاستعمار.

نشرت مشاريعهم في العديد من المجلات والصحف العالمية مثل:  New York Times ، الايام ، القدس، Art Forum ، Domus. كما و تم استدعائهم لمحاضرات في العديد من الجامعات العالمية مثل: Tate modern London, Columbia University, University of Exeter, American University of Beirut, University of London, Global Art Forum Dubai, Prefix Gallery Toronto, Festival della Filosofia di Roma, Bard College University New York, Henry Moore Institute, Festival Architettura Parma.

المهندسيين المعماريين والفنانيين والباحثين في برنامج جمعية دار للإقامة الفنية: 


 لوتشيا ديسلوتشي, جوناثان ويت, داليا أبو حشيش, لوتشيا مافي, مارغو فان دين بيرج, ايدواردوا كاسينا, ليفا دوداريفا, آرني كاربينتير, نك آكسيل, يعقوب بيرنز.


لورينزو بيزاني, ساني فاندين بريميير, باتريشيا فيرنانديز, غاربريل كويار, تشونغ رين, ساي شو, رزقي سوبريتمان, ليفن دي كوتر.


نيكولا بيريجيني, سونيا آرو, بينو بوركويل, لويزا سيرليني, اليسا فيراتوا, اليساندرا غولا, سوزاني هاريس رانديتس, بينجامين, ميشيل بايرز, أمينا.


شون ميرفي, ماركوا سيراتي, أحمد باركلي, ميرلين ايارليس, سيباستيان بيفيك, مارسيلا رافانيولا, ماريا روكو, مهدي صباغ, بيرت رويولينيس, نينا فاليري, اندريس, دييغو سيغاتوا.


أليجرا مارتن, روبورتو سارتو, أمينا بيلاف, ماريوا ابروزيس, فرانشيسكا فارجيوز, بياتريس كاتانزاروا.


بيانكا الزينباومير, فابيو فرانز, فينسيزوا كاستيلا, آن غوف, زكية حنفي, جيك هيميل, جيسي لونغ, سالفاتوري بوركاروا, فرانشيسكا ريسشيا, لورينزوا روميتوا.

اعضاء المجلس الادراي

غيداء رحيل (رئيس الهيئة الادارية), كريستينا الشايب (امين الصندوق), ماهر قسييس (نائب مدير المجلس), وفاء قمصية (عضو هيئة ادارية), ليا مصلح (عضو هيئة ادارية), عيسى اندوني (عضو هيئة ادارية), سوسن خير (عضو هيئة ادارية), أروى الشوملي (المسؤول المالي