Love Stories of a Place

by Maria Nerhus
Cristian Ștefănescu
Lifta, Israel

We all are storytellers, and our imagination is colored by the stories we tell, are told and believe in.

The thesis work ‘Loves stories of a Place’ aims to address the power in storytelling, to emphasize the constant flux between the imaginary and the place itself, and how the image of a place and the physical place mutually reinforces an identity. A place should be read as a living multi-layered character; temporary and plastic rather than static and fixed.

The project focuses on how to generate spaces motivated by interpretation of love as a resource for design. Ideally it goes beyond ideology and political statements as it looks at the place itself as the main actor.

The ancient village Lifta, Israel which is the area I chose to work with, is a contested territory which unfolds a symbolical richness where acting upon love allows for greater possibilities. I want to draw a vision for a place of tolerance, a place to negotiate.

I argue that futility of function is one of the architectural qualities of the remains in Lifta. The spaces were made for a specific purpose, yet they have changed over time, what has not changed is the spatial qualities they host.

I am doing this to mark that it is too narrow to understand the cultural and historical value of a place only in the material remains of ancient constructions. Rather, to engage spatial practice in any given place, one has to understand the complexity of context and the layers of humanity, intangible and emotional modes of ownership and belonging to a place.

By gaining awareness of how identity is altered in the meeting between humans and a physical place, one becomes aware of the power within the spatial.

House nr.6 expanding over time. A study of existing
Gesture A: Adding to existing. New Floor to crate access to existing spaces and place Stone benches in contrasting color.
Gesture B: Installing Water fountain
Existing characters of Lifta. Floor plan and section showing a variation of building typologies. The different typologies can be categorized in five stages of expanding the village.
to connect the existing spaces by making a stone carpet. The heart of the village lies in the local material used – Lime stone. The surrounding landscape consist of natural and manmade stone terraces. Each house is built by stone from the site.