VR, Architectural History, Pedagogy and the Case of Lifta
The Palestinian village of Lifta, located beneath the western entrance to the city of Jerusalem, holds a deep history within its site. Evacuated by the newly established Israeli military forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war – or the Nakba (‘The Catastrophe’) as it is referred to by the Palestinian population – the village and its remains are a unique locus of conflicted histories, archaeology and landscape, and of collective memories. This article presents the work conducted during an experimental design research workshop within the MIT School of Architecture and Planning. Taking Lifta’s site, as well as it historical and archaeological complexity, both real and imagined, as its archive, students developed their thematics following site-visits, interviews and research, and designed virtual experiences of the village, its multiple histories and narratives. The efforts provide epistemological and experiential cross-sections through the problematics of the site’s complex history. In the process of designing a possible platform for a critical historiography of Lifta, the projects aim to further the potential of immersive technologies as a pedagogical tool.
Architecture, History, Lifta, Israel-Palestine, Virtual Reality
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