In January 2010, ARTFORUM named Decolonizing Architecture one of the top ten projects of the decade. Tirdad Zolghadr writes:
“I’m a little tired of interdisciplinarity à la “exhibition research,” where we play semi-Foucauldian journalist or quasi-Rancièrian ethnographer with boring impunity. But decolonizing.ps shows it’s still possible to cross disciplines and act like adults. With a subtle sense of site and medium, format and form, Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti, and Eyal Weizman use architecture to articulate possibilities of decolonization: “Recognizing that Israeli colonies and military bases are amongst the most excruciating instruments of domination, the project assumes that a viable approach to the issue of their appropriation is to be found [in] inaugurating an ‘arena of speculation’ that incorporates varied cultural and political perspectives.” Said “arena” includes landscape designs for interrupting the colonial apparatus, proposals that strive to be both pragmatic and militant, inventive and long-term.”
Decolonizing Architecture was originally conceptualized and its pilot stage produced in dialogue with Eloisa Haudenschild and Steve Fagin, partners in the haudenschild Garage, Spare Parts projects.
Decolonizing Architecture is a collaboration between the haudenschild Garage and London-based architect and theorist Eyal Weizman and Bethlehem-based architects Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti. Decolonizing Architecture is a multi-pronged project that addresses the possibilities of understanding and redesigning Palestine in preparation for a post-evacuation time and context through two case studies, the former military base, Oush Grab, and the settlement of P’sagot. A scale model, architectural plans and public events, including an exhibition and symposium with Eloisa Haudenschild, Steve Fagin, Sandi Hilal, Eyal Weizman, Alessandro Petti and Lieven de Cauter at the Bozar Center for Fine Art in Brussels (October 31 2008 – January 4, 2009), were produced around plans for turning the fabric of the case studies into Palestinian public institutions.
The Manual of Decolonization was the result of a residency at Decolonizing Architecture in August 2008 with Salottobuono (www.salottobuono.net). The manual was a choral work where different approaches stood out at the same time. The production of the manual was supported by the haudenschild Garage and based upon a series of meetings with the “stakeholders” in this process including representatives from various organizations, community members, NGOs, government and municipal bodies, academic and cultural institutions, and local resident associations. Click here to view the manual.
The manual and scale models were on view in Los Angeles at SUPERFRONT as part of the exhibtion UNPLANNED: Research and Experiments at the Urban Scale (March 25 – July 2, 2010).
In 2009, the project was presented at the Venice Biennale and was selected for the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale (2008). Decolonizing Architecture has also been exhibited at COAC in Barcelona (2009) and at the 4th International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam (2009-2010).