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Destroyed buildings in Gaza

Architects for Gaza plans to deliver free education to architecture students in Gaza

Architecture group Architects for Gaza has launched the Gaza Global University to offer free education to architecture students impacted by the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Architects for Gaza (AFG), which is led by architects and University of Westminster educators Nasser Golzari and Yara Sharif, revealed it was establishing Gaza Global University earlier this month.

AFG plans to use Gaza Global University as a platform to provide free education to architecture students in Gaza who cannot continue their studies due to the ongoing conflict.

It follows many of the universities being destroyed or damaged in the Gaza Strip, including Israa University, which was blown up in an explosion in January.

"Gaza Global University is a call for academic support"

In its announcement establishing Gaza Global University, AFG asked for architecture professionals and educators to offer help with funding and delivering tutorials.

"Gaza Global University is a call for academic support for students and academic staff in Gaza," Sharif told Dezeen.

"It invites academics, professionals and students to show interest in the principle and hopes to offer some assistance for students of different specialities and facilitate the conclusion of their studies."

Sharif and Golzari founded AFG in November last year amid continued attacks on Gaza by Israel, which were carried out following a major assault by Hamas militants on Israel on 7 October 2023.

The group published an online statement calling for immediate action to rebuild Gaza, which was signed by over 1,200 people.

Signatories include Lesley Lokko and Angela Brady

In the statement, AFG condemned the "spacio-cidal violence" and demanded a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

The list of signatories include former RIBA president Angela Brady, Scottish architect Kate Macintosh, architect Sean Griffiths, educator Lesley Lokko, architectural historian Jane Rendell and educator Shumi Bose.

Since launching, AFG has grown to include around three hundred architects, planners and environmentalists, mainly based in the UK, who want to offer help and support to Palestinians in Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Gaza Global University is not currently accredited, but is seeking ways to offer courses validated by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. The platform is led by architects Nishat Awan, Shumi Bose and Samir Pandya.

It plans to provide teaching online and through "physical clusters", to those in Gaza studying architecture and architecture-related courses. In the future it aims to expand its offering to all of Palestine.

"Considering the extensive destruction of many Gazan educational buildings and institutions, we are setting up interdisciplinary clusters to enable local students to continue their education in whatever form possible," AFG said.

"We may not be able to provide immediate responses to all needs, but we are committed to (re)building for the future."

Half of buildings in Gaza destroyed or damaged

On 30 January it was reported that at least half of the buildings in Gaza had been destroyed or damaged in the conflict.

Much of the population in the Gaza Strip has been forced to flee their homes. Around 1.7 million Palestinians are taking refuge in emergency shelters or informal sites.

Alongside establishing the Gaza Global University, AFG is developing other strategies to help rebuild Gaza, including a mobile health clinic and a self-build prototype that utilises rebars, clay and rubble.

"Currently, the plan for rebuilding includes looking at the urban neighbourhood-scale principles of reconstruction, addressing some key questions related to the right to the city, right to resources, right to a home and also the right to a landscape that involves people's memory, culture and rituals," said Sharif.

"Our approach goes beyond 'shelter' or temporary accommodation, calling for Gaza's right to be rebuilt and challenging the urbicide that is going on."

The photography is by Emad El Byed on Unsplash. Comments have been turned off on this story due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.