Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1998.
Hebron, an old and sacred town 32 km to the south of Jerusalem, is a very important religious centre for Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The ancient city lies to the south-east of the modern turn-of-the-century city, and possesses a remarkable stone architecture, most of which was built in the 18th Century. Since its occupation by Israel in 1967, Hebron has been a focus of Jewish settlement. Almost a decade ago, the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee was created, as a result of a decision by Yasser Arafat, to develop a programme to renew the town for Palestinian habitation. In January 1997, Israel turned over 80 percent of the administration of Hebron to the Palestinian Authority, thereby enabling the actual reconstruction of the old town to begin. The sector under revitalisation consists of large, extended-family houses built of thick stone walls with vaulted superstructures and arranged in a compact urban texture. Most of the clusters do not suffer from major structural problems. No extensive reconstruction is contemplated, only work necessary to make them structurally sound and functional. The rehabilitation includes running water, sewage, and drainage services. The jury notes "the skills, competence, and courage of the community, as well as the architectural relevance of the work and the promising future of the rehabilitated city", and that "this approach is valid for urban situations in many other parts of the world."
Davidson, Cynthia C., editor. “Legacies for the Future: Contemporary Architecture in Islamic Societies”. London: Thames and Hudson, 1998.
In the rapidly changing tastes and styles of Western culture, the most highly acclaimed designs in contemporary architecture are often unconnected to the social and cultural contexts from which they spring. In contrast, in Islamic societies around the world, architecture often plays a far more responsible role, responding to the immediate needs of local and personal exigencies. As a result, some of the most humanist contemporary architecture is overlooked by the fashions of today's international design periodicals. The seven projects chosen, for this, the seventh cycle (1998) of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, from hundreds by the jury are among the most fascinating and thoughtful work produced anywhere in the world. Each project is profiled in depth with lucid texts, extensive drawings and specially commissioned photographs. Critical essays consider the challenges and potential rewards confronting architects and planners working in exceptional conditions. Legacies for the Future is the seventh in a series of books under the general title Building in the Islamic World Today.