What About the Wall?

Strip City: Rethinking the Meaning of the Gaza Border

By N. Frankowski and C. Garcia

A wall in itself is meaningless. But instead, if that wall is charged with symbolism or with “content”, it can become the ultimate tool for change. As the most basic element of architecture, “the wall” can produce an unlimited array of possibilities. Very often used as a tool for separation, what happens when “the wall” is repurposed to “embrace” instead of excluding? What happens when the “wall” is fragmented to allow permeability? What happens when a no-man’s land is metamorphosed into a social condenser? What happens when instead of dividing East and West, it becomes a “melting pot”?

Strip City addresses the concept of the wall as a barrier, moreover rethinking the border line of the Gaza Strip. In the pictured scenario a ceaseless band of buildings is displayed along the Strip. Rectangular Blocks seem from far as a reminiscence of a continuous wall. But instead of an uninterrupted barrier, the buildings are spaced between them creating a zone for an incessant flow of creative freedom and possibilities.

The East-West conflict that used to be accentuated by a strong physical division is cancelled by the creation of transitional space. Taking as departure the point “0” that marked the separation between two territories, a new Architecture is enhanced. One that looks for the optimization of different behaviors, utilizations, and interpretations of space. Architecture in the “border zone” acts as a landscape background for a space intended to assemble differences and similarities.

As a new archaeological discovery, Strip City proposes a refreshing programmatic flexibility to its occupants. Like an oasis in the desert, people are attracted to the infinite possibilities of the space created that acts as a trait d’union between East and West. A new architecture welcomes the new comers and gratifies its inhabitants with its neutral and peaceful spaces. Common areas are displayed all over between the buildings as tangible ways of social, cultural and economic integration. Sport, health, economic and educational facilities act as enhancers of multiculturalism. Like alchemistic architecture, Strip City turns desolation into hope; a desert into an oasis. At the end a new and healthy architecture shines full of promises.

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