Al-Mathaf is the oldest archaeological site in Gaza and the client, a successful businessman, funded this centre on his own land as a beacon of hope for the country. The entire design and construction programme took just three months and the building was executed in spite of material shortages. Reclaimed stone from demolished housing, timber from the railways and damaged ceiling tiles were sourced and these underline the sense of history that is central to the centre’s ambitions. It comprises a museum, multi-purpose hall and restaurants and expansion is already planned. The project symbolically ‘creates something out of nothing’.