Shaden Awad (2010), The Peasant House: Contemporary Meanings, Syntactic Qualities and Rehabilitation Challenges, Institute of Urban and Architectural History; 1st reviewer: Hasso Hohmann, 2nd reviewer: Grigor Doytchinov; 216 pages, Englisc.
This research tackles the inhabitants interaction with their traditional peasant houses and its implementation in the rehabilitation measures. Despite the considerable attention that research and knowledge have given to the meaning of home, the nature of attachment to home and the experience and impact of extrication has not filtered through to our Palestinian rehabilitation strategies and procedures. The research represents the historic core of Ramallah as an example of the Palestinian traditional peasant architecture. This core is facing major challenges in accommodating the evolving new situation of Ramallah as an administrative and service center. The traditional and functional whole of the historic core is often threatened. As well, most of Ramallahs inhabitants who live in the historic core wish to leave their houses. This problem is related to social, institutional, physical and financial reasons. The institutional efforts and the proposed rehabilitation plan for the historic core are principally concerned with the physical aspects and do not pay attention to the social context and the content of the buildings. Consequently, the main aim of the research is to investigate the inhabitants relationship with their peasant houses and integrate the aspects of this relationship into the rehabilitation process of Ramallahs historic core. Basically this research discusses the reasons behind the materialistic and technical approaches for the rehabilitation in order to underline the need for enhancement that is more directed toward the relativization of materiality. In addition to a deep understanding of the inhabitant-house relationship, the research refers to the concepts of proper habitation by illustrating basic issues related to the notion of home as well as the lifestyle concepts and their interrelations to the housing environment. Moreover the research focuses on the latent and functional levels of meaning and defines the main meanings of home as: physical structure, financial asset, territory, personal identity, and socio- cultural unit.