Thresholds - Attabat
Baqa'a camp, Jordan--2015
It Only Takes One Threshold
Historically, inside the Palestinian camp, Attabat (doorsteps--thresholds) took the form of an architectural element; made of cement, has the form of a rectangular block or mass, is attached to the shelter frontal elevation, and built as a means to protect the shelter from rain and sewage water seeping in.
These cement-masses would quickly acquire a social use and turn into intimate, outdoor common spaces. The refugee families would utilise those Attabat to occupy and mingle with the street goers, and even host other passer-byes intermittently for a cup of tea or coffee, or a little chat. This is mainly because, as Palestinian refugees experienced a protracted displacement, they would eventually build up their refugee plots, taking away any open--garden spaces. Instead, the Attabah would become the open--social space for each refugee plot, or family.
As the Palestinian displacement protracted even further (now reaching its 71st year), the refugee needs would demand that they also replace their Attabat to become rooms, or stairs to help them build vertically. This is where my project to re-construct Attabat in Baqa'a camp, Jordan emanated.
The design concept was to utilize a historical spatial form, created by the refugees themselves. Yet as these forms disappeared with the violent protraction of displacement, the question was; how can we re-create Attabat in the form of new social spaces. A main element to interrogate the historical Attabat, was the integration of tree--green pits, as a way to mediate the displaced time, and further introduce a new time of social and environmental significance.