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AJ exclusive: Heneghan Peng wins Palestinian Museum contest

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The AJ can reveal that Heneghan Peng has been appointed to design the Palestinian Museum, near Ramallah on the West Bank

The Irish stars saw off competition from Edward Cullinan Architects as well as Danish practice Henning Larsen Architects, Canadians Moriyama & Teshima and Consolidated Consultants from Jordan to land the prize commission.

The Welfare Association announced yesterday (22 December) that the Dublin-based practice – which is also masterminding the Grand Egyptian Museum project – will oversee a phased development of the Museum within the campus of Birzeit University.

The first phase – with an estimated budget of US$8m – will cover 2,500 m² and is expected to be completed by 2014. The second phase of approximately 5,000 m² will be developed following the opening of phase one.

Yesterday’s announcement marks the end of a decade of gestation for the project which showcase different aspects of Palestinian history and culture, ’ creating debate and discussion about both past and contemporary themes’.

The Museum is being billed as a ‘leading platform for non-partisan narratives about Palestinians’ and is intended to be a thematic rather than a merely narrative museum.

More than 40 practices entered the international contest for the museum which is conceived as a hub serving a nuimber of branches and associated centres.

Previous story (AJ 15.12.11)

Cullinan on Palestine museum shortlist

Edward Cullinan Architects has been shortlisted to design the Palestinian Museum, near Ramallah on the West Bank

The other finalists in the contest for the ‘museum hub’ at Birzeit University are Irish stars Heneghan Peng, Canadians Moriyama & Teshima, Danish practice Henning Larsen Architects and Consolidated Consultants from Jordan.

RIBA Royal Gold Medallist Ted Cullinan is a supporter of the pressure group Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP), which objects to the ‘separation fence’ and the construction of Israeli settlements on disputed territory; illegal under international law.

In 2007, the body published a petition in the Times, signed by leading architects including Will Alsop, former RIBA president Jack Pringle, Terry Farrell, George Ferguson and Cullinan, that opposed three major projects which, it argued, symbolised Israel’s ‘unethical’ seizure of Palestinian land (AJ 24.05.07).

The museum is being billed as a ‘leading platform for non-partisan narratives about Palestinians’ and will follow the 10,000-year old history of the region. The winner of the competition will develop the masterplan and design phase one.

Following a pre-qualification process of 40 invited entries, client body the Palestinian Museum taskforce for the Welfare Association has whittled the list down to the final five, with the winner expected to be announced within a week.

UK-based firms working in Palestine include emerging practice Pie Architecture, which is designing a masterplan for 2,500 houses in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian museum - site

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