Identity and the Built Environment

History of architecture and urbanism in Israel/Palestine

The chronicles of the architecture and urban planning in Israel and Palestine is the story of the local national, political and social struggles. Strategically located between three continents and functioning as the religious center for various creeds, the area has been conquered and inhabited by numerous groups; all of which have left their traces in the local built heritage. In the late 19th century, however, with the Jewish national revival, the growing Arab - Palestinian awareness, and the rising colonial influence, the local built environment began transforming according to the different national narratives, political interests, and economic flows. An influence that intensified by the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the attempts to form a unified national identity. The efforts to create a local identity were subjected to the tensions between the ideas of ‘east’ and ‘west’, as well as ‘global’ and ‘local’; seemingly contradicting concepts that dictated, and still dictate, the local architecture and urban form.

The study of the development of the Palestinian and Israeli built environment from the late Ottoman period requires the use of a variety of perspectives which include colonialism, post - colonialism, nation - building, cross - nationalism, territoriality, socialism, post - socialism, globalization, and neoliberalism. This lecture series chronologically reviews the planning and construction of the local built environment in light of the mentioned approaches, in an attempt to clarify the various processes that have taken place in the area from the mid - 19th century to the present day.



Global Architecture History Teaching Collaborative
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Programme:History of Architecture Lecture Series
Grant amount: $7000 USD
Role TU Delft: 

Host Institute

Project duration:March 2020 - October 2020
TU Delft researchers: Dr.Arch. Gabriel Schwake

Project partners



Dr.Arch. Gabriel Schwake