international contribution

Community Center in South Shounah (Jordan, 2007-2008)

This facility is a base for activities of Al-Jawasreh, a women’s group in the poverty stricken region of South Shounah, Jordan. It is a community center which can also serve as a literacy classroom. The first objective of the construction of this facility was to ease the poverty of the area and encourage the autonomy of Al-Jawasreh.
In contemporary Jordan, which has passed through a high economic growth period, stone architecture, the traditional method of construction, is about disappear. Thus the facility also plays a role in preserving that construction technology.

The site for the facility is a corner lot, a long, narrow, north-south strip of land. It was planned to build a community center on the south side and to create a farm on the north side. The center was constructed with a combination of stone construction, reinforced concrete construction, and earthbag architecture. The main structure is L-shaped: one wing is a classroom/workshop, and the other is a kitchen/ dining room. A large opening facing south functions as a passive solar system and provides a bright space, quite rare in the area. The point linking the two wings is connected to an earthbag dome, which serves as a reception room. The land is low as a result of digging the soil for earthbags. By design, the resulting low area can be used as a farm. The stone construction was supervised by a group of local stonemasons; the earthbag parts were constructed by local people.