Preservation & Enhancement - Vision for a Yemeni Mountain Settlement
Architectural interventions for a hypothetical Yemeni mountain village, aiming to utilise the incredibly rich traditional styles and construction methods to enhance the local built environment.
Located on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen exists as one of the final bastions of indigenous Arabian architecture. The almost unfathomable spectrum of building styles and traditional architectural solutions employed across the country is something that needs to be celebrated, and with the current conflicts affecting most of the population, it is now even more important to highlight the incredible culture of this region.
The proposals’ key objective is to enhance settlements through the key themes of healthcare, education, community, and economy, utilising the pre-existing, incredible traditional building knowledge that Yemen and its people maintain in their identity. With the considerably scarce availability of information on Yemeni rural towns, the project assumed an “imaginary” approach, whereby a hypothetical mountain village was first fully realised before any of the interventions’ designs were even considered. Real life locations, building clustering, and architectural features were extensively researched, culminating in the creation of a living, breathing settlement. Although not a real space in technical terms, the hypothetical village fully respects the thematic constraints of its context, such as clustering, size, crafts, architecture, and technologies. The fascinating traditions and heritage of Yemeni built environments that were explored as a result of this approach, allowed for even more considerate design decisions to be made as the project progressed.
The final proposals included a medical clinic, learning centre, community space and a village market. Through the implementation of the four architectural enchantments, it is hoped that a real positive change was brought to the village, allowing it to grow in the years to come. The scheme highlighted how even relatively simple interventions can generate great impact, and how the existing traditional building techniques, and the incredible way of Yemeni life and culture can take centre stage, even today.