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Desert Stars, Beit Kama


PROGRAMME: Youth Village

STATUS: Competition 2018

SIZE:10.000 m2

CLIENT: Desert Stars Foundation



The educational-architectural characterization drafted for the Youth Village provides a breakthrough brief for the planning. The innovative educational complex, which the brief outlines, seeks to reframe relationship and hierarchies for the fascinating site outside Beit Kama. In fact, this brief gives rise to a fundamental question with which modern architecture is grappling, namely “Xan a building be as enlightened as the intentions behind it?”

The project, which we are honored to present below, is our attempt to answer this question with a resounding “YES”.

To illustrate my meaning, I would like to resort to the essential definition of “enlightenment” according to Immanuel Kant:

"Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity." Kant argues that the immaturity is self-inflicted not from a lack of understanding, but from the lack of courage to use one's reason, intellect, and wisdom without the guidance of another. He exclaims that the motto of enlightenment is "Sapere aude"! – Dare to be wise!”

“…Kant’s criticism focuses on the inaction, which originates from surrendering to the desire to hinge authority onto an external source, instead of the personal intellect. One reason that prejudice prevails is the fear of walking alone, free of the restrictive baby pram, which custodians of various kinds impose on people, kindling their fear of using their intellect independently. The authority of these custodians does not depend on adequate legitimacy; and here is another reason: the independent use of one’s intellect is a burden and people are lazy. It is easier for the masses to obey the authorities, be they religious, moral or social.”

Freedom of movement and expression is the equivalent of the quest for independent, freethinking and choice in progressive architecture. However, this freedom cannot be unrestricted, as this would cause it to lose its meaning and value. Kant himself has stipulated, “Only in an orderly society can persons exercise their freedom.”

Accordingly, the key challenge inherent to the creation of a new community at the Desert Stars Youth Village can be summarized as coming to terms with the tension that exists between these two polarized extremes: freedom and frame.