Love Stories of a Place

Bergen School of Architecture︎Thank you


The thesis work ‘Loves stories of a Place’ aims to address the power in storytelling, to emphasize the constant flux between the imaginary and the place itself, and how the image of a place and the physical place mutually reinforces an identity. A place should be read as a living multi-layered character; temporary and plastic rather than static and fixed.

I want to draw a vision for a place of tolerance, a place to negotiate. Lifta is a contested territory which unfolds a symbolical richness where acting upon love allows for greater possibilities. It is an infinity loop between place and stories. Attachment and emotions are universal echoes inhabiting our surroundings, body and mind.


The project focuses on how to generate spaces motivated by interpretation of love as a resource for design. Ideally it goes beyond ideology and political statements as it looks at the place itself as the main actor.
South elevation complex 6  

Image by M.H.K.N

The ancient village Lifta, Israel which is the area I chose to work with, is a contested territory which unfolds a symbolical richness where acting upon love allows for greater possibilities. I want to draw a vision for a place of tolerance, a place to negotiate.

I argue that futility of function is one of the architectural qualities of the remains in Lifta. The spaces were
made for a specific purpose, yet they have changed over time, what has not changed is the spatial qualities they host.
Section 5-5 complex 6

Image by M.H.K.N

In my thesis I am working around the existing characters, trying to identify their mood and wishes. The buildings should be preserved in such a way that they are welcoming the user's imagination and desire. A floor and a roof can be a lecture hall, a museum, a cafe, a place to change to swimming clothes. Lifta has the potential to be a place for negotiation. A common place for various agents to engage.

I am doing this to mark that it is too narrow to understand the cultural and historical value of a place only in the material remains of ancient constructions. Rather, to engage spatial practice in any given place, one has to understand the complexity of context and the layers of humanity, intangible and emotional modes of ownership and belonging to a place.

One should not make a distinction between a place and its social context, as the social context cannot exist without a place and vice versa.

By gaining awareness of how identity is altered in the meeting between humans and a physical place one becomes aware of the power within the spatial. Who can be the care givers in Lifta?

Daring to explore a new laboratory for the loving universe; The effort of weaving stories of a place together with spatial interventions emerging from descriptions of emotions.

I propose tree categories; Care for the build environment, natural environment, and social environment. 

Built environment

The building,
structures, roads, darnation and so on. The  buildings are identified under five building epochs. Each of them with uniqueness in building technology and appearance.

LIFTA VILLAGE - Five building stages

Many of the spaces they host are inaccessible due to pollution and piles of sand and stone that covers the floors. Also, the construction needs to be preserved and maintained. 

Concept collages

Empathizing the notion of joy in the action of curating.

The play occurs in the meeting point between layers of stories and how I, the curating architect, chose to connect them to spatial investigations.

Truths are created by principles and the principles adjust to contexts and the perspective of the author. A place exists in subjective and cultural understandings and memory, and stories give value, importance, and identity to it. Simultaneously our own identity grows and takes form. The politics of narratives and whose story is publicly acknowledged depends on the privilege of being granted a room of being heard.

EXAMPLE - Complex 6

Feelings stronger
Than any words of love
Known or unknown
Feelings so wild and strong
That we never thought
Were possible before
Don`t ever promise
To adore me all your life
Let’s never exchange
Such promise
Knowing me
Knowing you
Let’s keep the feeling
That this love of ours
Is a love with no tomorrow

Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Anna Karina: Marianne Renoir

I propose to engage local craftsmen, constructers, builders who know the local traditional way of building to use Lifta as place to teach the new generation the traditional building techniques of limestone. 

  • One would need a caretaker in charge of maintains, it would be valuable to engage someone who have a relation to Lifta. Some on who lived there or has learned from ancestors who lived there. And one organizing administerial and creat educational program, both in learning the skill of building but also to engage with the history of Jerusalem, agricultural land use, geography, geology, social science and farming, and more.

Holding hands makes our fingers smile

Image by M.H.K.N

  • A second gesture would be to provide a recirculation system of trash. To place trash bins on the site. The aria of Jerusalem has a tradition in pottery. I propose to engage local craftsmen and artist to participating and design and install unique trach bins.
    The municipality of Jerusalem would be
    responsible for picking up the trash.  

Collage of pottery

Image by M.H.K.N

Collage of trash bin and dancing people

Image by M.H.K.N

  • A third gesure would be to activate spaces and making them accessible by giving them floors.

New floors inspired by old traditions of bear soil, mosaic, stone tiles and wood. Some walls might be decorated with colors as they originally were. A Curator will work together with Israel Antiquities Authority and various Universities. 

One Lime stone 

Image by M.H.K.N

Floor carpet of stone tiles – 1,5 m2

Image by M.H.K.N

  • To make the spaces adoptable with the technologies of time, electricity will be provided, and sockets installed.

Electricity Sockets 

Image by M.H.K.N

    • To make the it a common place it needs to be installed clean water fountains and public bathrooms.

Public toilet design proposal

Collage by M.H.K.N

Natural environment:

  1. A caretaker in charge of the nature and agricultural land. 

  2. One needs to maintain roads and alleys

  3. Educational program in botanic, traditional farming, olive oil production and other services that comes natural for the site.

Painting by Peter Mitchev.

Nature and roads

Drawing by M.H.K.N

Social environment:

  1. As mention above to engage a group of competent participants to elaborate various educational programs reaching out to local communities. And allow local communities to host workshops courses in spaces. 

  2. The intention is that the place will be open so families, hikers and cultural groups can temporary “occupied” spaces to host parties, picnics, activities and games. 

  3. It is important that users of the space feel the responsible for care. A campaign of caretaking and clean up after oneself as well as respect others would be beneficial. It means that it is important to educate people of the heritage value of the place and that it is a loved space. 

  4. Make a system around usage of the spring so it is equally divided between religious men and other visitors who would like to go for a swim. Some of the spaces around could be used as dressing rooms

Image of traditional palestinian pottery

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