Since the 2007 war on Nahr al-Bared camp in northern Lebanon, the urban environment in the camp, which has been almost completely destroyed, has not been rehabilitated. By working on the architectural design of Ajial Youth Center in the camp extension, we have had a collective experience of creating shared and creative spaces.
In the summer of 2007, Nahr al-Bared was devastated by violent confrontations between the Lebanese army and the Fatah al-Islam group, resulting in the displacement of the population and the destruction of the old camp. The area was declared as a military zone, leading to the army’s control of main shared spaces of the camp, such as the beach and football fields.
By working on the architectural design of Ajial Youth Center in the camp extension, we have had a collective experience of creating shared and creative spaces for the youth, who make up the largest proportion of the camp and the most disadvantaged age group. While children enjoy street life for safe play in the camp, youth remain trapped in the absence of future opportunities for them. Is it possible to imagine the necessary spaces that would respond to some of the challenges faced by youth groups in the camp?
Based on this question, the first phase of the project was the development of maps for the rehabilitation of the building in accordance with its various uses, and the review of the limits of the center and adjacent areas. We conducted a series of workshops through which young people shared their aspirations for the center and their wishes. We have developed a space built on the basis of the center’s openness to its surroundings (especially the car-free street) and the creation of a single space that can be divided into moving walls. It also constitutes an interactive space for drawing and writing. The second (under development) is collective work to advocate for shared spaces in the camp.