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Learning Room Design Project

GCSC Theme: Sustainable Resources

Lead: Dr Murray Fraser (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture)

Main collaborator: Dr Camillo Boano (UCL Development Planning Unit)

Additional collaborators: Nasser Golzari and Yara Sharif, Palestine Regeneration Team (PART)

GCSC (Fraser) Gaza Learning Room poster

Project: The project is to design an entirely new building type called the ‘Learning Room’, which is being conceived in this first instance as helping with reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. It is conceived as a prototype for a series of annexes to existing schools that can be applied in many countries if the prototype proves successful.

There are two key aims for the Learning Room: firstly, to provide a community centre where residents can meet together to discuss urban regeneration plans; secondly, to act as a knowledge base for innovative forms of sustainable construction that can help with rebuilding in conditions of chronic lack of building materials, energy, water etc. We are also currently writing a self-build manual to help Gazans create low-energy dwellings when rehousing, and the Learning Room will thus act as the location where this knowledge can be disseminated. Families rebuilding their houses will be able to study different forms of construction and low-cost passive energy-saving devices. It will act as a ‘community laboratory’ in some of the poorest and toughest places on earth.

A test site has been identified for a prototype Learning Room in a school in the Zaytouna neighbourhood of Gaza City, with that project being funded by UN-Habitat with support from the Palestinian Housing Council, Gaza University, Islamic Relief and other bodies.