The wall itself operates as an apparatus, dividing and isolating those on either side...
Poche is identified as the opaque sections of architectural plans; the use of poche to represent the wall signifies that the wall thickness is not to be considered as part of the architectural space. Rather, a wall shown as poched is understood as an absolute boundary between discrete architectural spaces. While historically, the manipulation of the poche was integral to the construction and represenation of masonry archiecture, the modern wall is rarely as dense as the poche implies. It has become a stylistic representation of the division of space and boundary within a project.
Rem Koolhaas did an early study of the wall; “as an object the wall was unimpressive, evolving toward a near dematerialization; but that left its power undiminished. The wall was not an object but an erasure. … It was a warning that – in architecture – absence would always win in a contest with presence…in its ‘primitive’ stage the wall is decision, applied with absolute architectural minimalism.” In Koolhaas’ case, he uses the negative aspects of the wall, “division, isolation, inequality, aggression, destruction…ingredients for a new phenomenon: architectural warfare against undesirable conditions.” The Exodus project proposal sought to present confined space as a series of new, extraordinary experiences.
The reinforced concrete wall serves as a barricade, “a machine that tears apart everything that crosses it, both objects and people, into separate, classifiable elements, only to put them back together again, in one way or another, when they exit.” It is an interactive architecture, morphing to categorize those who move through it. “As a prototype of bio-political architecture, maybe in its purest form, the border becomes more or less porous depending on the nation it belongs to.” Establishing this border signifies a division of power and a distinct inequality of people on either side of the barrier. Architecture is both the cause and solution to this divisive mentality. Manipulating the poche of the wall to accomodate virtualized experiences which subvert the typical understanding of the wall is one application of a larger argument that through the manifestation of these new realities, architecture is able to make cultural differences between people irrelevant through collectively shared experience.
...subverting the poché of the wall to afford intrigue, curiosity, and desire rather than division and isolation...
The wall is a physicalization of a long-standing cultural division. One cannot simply wish the wall wasn’t there. However, a weakened boundary can afford the potential for a reimagination of the conditions.
This thesis operates at the Israeli-Palestinian border wall, where there is a conflict between absolute and irreconcilable cultural realities. As it is a border between two cultural spaces, it is an inherent dysfunction and therefore easier to operate in that zone.
The Shua'fat Refugee Camp sits on the order edges of the Jerusalem municipality and is home to ten thousand residents. With the construction of the Israeli Border Wall, the residents of the camp were cut off from access to Jerusalem which is where many of them worked and earned their livelihoods. The wall itself violates the 1949 Armistice line and is an effort on the Israeli Part to annex land for gain in the proposed 2 State Solution as much as it is protection.
Conditions on either side of the wall are inhumane at the least, with thousands of people living without clean water, basic human rights, and access to education or healthcare.
However, many have come to call this place home and to treat them as refugees only give status and permanence to this state. No one wants to be reminded of their condition, and instead solutions that give equal voice and representation to their community are necessary.