On the other side of the Atlantic in the Middle East and, more specifically, on the West Bank, an Italian association (Onlus Vento di Terra based in Rozzano near Milan) and a group of designers under the symbol Ar.cò do more than assuage guilty consciences: they act in reality. South of East Jerusalem, they realized a courageous structure for the education of 130 children between 6 and 11 belonging to the Bedouin community of Abu Hindi – 2,700 people who live in small isolated groups. Their village is not connected to the electric grid.
The designers act with realism. They use truly crude materials (lime plaster, straw, bamboo, clay, straw, a galvanized aluminum sheet) for the renovation of an existing building with nine classrooms. In this way, they create a building that can withstand the desert temperatures which, between November and February, drop below 10° during the day and hit 0 at night and which reach 45° between late April and June.
What is striking is the intelligence with which the designers juxtapose very humble materials through the use of color and surface texture – an architecture that signals its presence in the desert as a starting point for a better future. At the same time, it is an ongoing project that will expand over time with a library, a teachers room and offices.
The school in the desert, Wadi Abu Hindi, East Jerusalem
Architects: Ar.Cò, Cooperazione Architettonica
Partners and Fund Raising: MCA Mario Cucinella Architects; CEI, Conferenza Episcopale Italiana; Comuni di Bresso (MI), Cesano Boscone (MI), Corsico (MI), Pavia, Pescara, Rozzano (MI); Associazione Culturale Art Kitchen; Associazione Culturale Namastè, Sister of Bethany – Jerusalem; Rabbies for Human Rights, Nazca coop per un commercio equo e solidale, Pax Christi, Associazione Vento di Terra Onlus
Local Partner: Jerusalem Beduin Cooperative Commeetee