We build to live

Design & Consultancy services, donated by Hani Hassan Architects


This may not be my largest project but it is my most important one. During the ‎hottest weeks of summer, I was Lead Architect in an international effort to help a ‎Palestinian village design affordable eco-friendly homes and create a detailed town plan ‎as the best way to assure their village a sound future.Although the Israeli Army holds ‎demolition orders against 97% of this village, in a few days time, the Al Aqaba Village ‎Council will issue building permits and, with the help of generous people around the ‎world, the first three families will start building their new Homes with Dignity.‎


Al Aqaba is a small village located in the Jordan Valley near Tubas, in that 62%of the ‎Occupied West Bank administered slowly by Israel, known as “Area C.” This is a village ‎with a history of peacefulness despite terrifying duress: In 1967, the Israeli Army built ‎three bases in and near Al Aqaba and from 1982-2002 conducted live-fire military ‎training within the village. 12 residents were killed, 38 injured. To escape danger, 700 ‎villagers left their land and moved to nearby towns leaving Al Aqaba with a population ‎of 300. ‎


In 2001, the village won a historic victory when the Israeli High Court ordered the Israeli ‎Army to remove one of its military bases and cease using the village for training.Al ‎Aqaba together with the American nonprofit Rebuilding Alliance built a thriving ‎kindergarten for the children of both current and returning residents. While ‎construction was underway, the Israeli Army issued demolition orders against nearly all ‎the homes, the mosque, the medical clinic, and the kindergarten. The village petitioned ‎the Israeli High Court with limited success. Now diplaced villagers fear if they wait any ‎longer to return home, their whole village may disappear.‎


ver the course of 8 days, I joined in an architectural design charrette in Al Aqaba, ‎working with the first three returning families, and Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq Sbaih, the ‎village council, and the Rural Women’s Association to understand their housing and ‎community development needs. While simple and economic solutions are challenging ‎and difficult to achieve, when we succeeded in delivering solutions to this needy ‎community, it was a moment of joy!‎

Design Process

Three types of units where designed, one of these types was selected by the community, ‎the home prototype starts from 100 M2 up to 118 M2, with the posibility of vertical ‎expansion up to 200 M2.‎

Home design aproach

  1. ‎Functional and simple.‎
  2. Modular.‎
  3. Flexible.‎
  4. Expandable to respond to future needs.‎
  5. ‎Material & labor low cost.‎
  6. Afordable.‎
  7. Energy efficient homes.‎
  8. Colorful architecture to bring joy and hope.‎
  9. Community participation.‎

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Architecture enables us to transform design ideas into places and spaces that serve us ‎and generations yet unborn. The families require 3 bedroom, 119 square meter homes, ‎expandable someday to include a 2nd floor for their son’s future family — but the ‎construction cost of $33,300 exceeds their ability to repay a mortgage loan, if one could ‎even be found. Although Al Aqaba’s families hold undisputed title to their land, Israel’s ‎policy of denying building permits to Palestinians means that no bank provides financing ‎in Area C


With wonderful creativity, we found a way to fund construction by both spreading-out ‎and reducing the risk of demolition: many donors, many advocates. Unlike a loan from a ‎bank,Rebuilding Alliance’s Crowdsource Financing affirms that if the home is ‎demolished, the remaining mortgage loan is forgiven.Donations providea $5,000 down ‎payment, a $15,000 mortgage loan, and $4000 to coordinate worldwide outreach to ‎affirm the village’s right to issue building permits. Al Aqaba’s families will help with ‎construction.  The villagers even formed a Cooperative Assembly and raised a fund to ‎match worldwide contributions.  ‎



Architecture above all is the expression of peace, love and humankind development, and ‎it should help lead us to a better life as we continue to learn from people and nature.  ‎What then is expressed by Israel’s policy of demolition?   While issuing tenders to ‎buildIsraeli settlements on land they do not own, the Israeli Army issues demolition ‎orders to Palestinians who build on their own land.  Detailed Israeli Army maps recently ‎received by theIsraeli human rights group BIMKOM: Planners for Planning ‎Rightsshowover 12,500 demolition orders issued to Palestinian homes, schools, and ‎shops in Area C.‎

I believe Architecture is a language of villages, cities, and nations, poor and rich ‎individuals and communities, expressed through their structures.  Al Aqaba Village, a ‎model of neighborliness, hopes that their colorful, loveable homes will grow in value. ‎They want to give their town a future and provide a constructive and reassuring ‎example of what peace looks like. Their success can end Israel’s policy of demolishing of ‎Palestinian homes and begin to meet the needs of the 150,000 Palestinians who live in ‎Area C.  In Al Aqaba, our mission is architecture making peace.‎

Bring to reality this projects is a huge challange, becuase it affects hundreds of diplaced ‎families eager to return to there village, rebuild there homes and harvest there camp. ‎It’s about architecture contecting people with there land and bringing life to important ‎country side of Palestine.‎

Architecture is about dreams comes true, and I believe that homes with dignity in Al ‎Aqaba village is a dream, and it started days ago to become true.‎

I invite my colleagues to join our peacefull effort to be part of Architecture to give, ‎for Families who Face Risk of Demolition, beacuse building our homeland starts in ‎our hearts and in Al Aqaba.‎

We build to live


Palestinian-Colombian – American Architect Hani Hassan lives and works in Palestine.  ‎Arch. Hassan won the European Center’s & The Chicago Atheneum 2010 International ‎Architecture Award for his energy-efficient Dessert House in Jericho. ‎

All Architectural services where donated by Arch. Hani Hassan ‎


“Rebuilding to Remain in Palestine” Helps Jordan Valley Villagers Build Homes on the Land ‎They Own

Architecture, Worldwide Advocacy, & Crowd source Mortgage for Families who Face Risk of ‎Demolition


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – April 26, 2012     Following an inaugural keynote ‎address by the honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, the  ‎Global Donors Forum is featuring “Rebuilding to Remain in Palestine” as a ‎Trendsetter.   Award-winning Palestinian- Colombian Architect Hani Hassan ‎and M.I.T. Engineer Donna Baranski-Walker, founder of Rebuilding Alliance, ‎will present their Architecture, Advocacy, and Crowd source Mortgage Financing ‎work with the Palestinian Village of Al Aqaba, today at 4:15PM at the Renaissance ‎Kuala Lumpur Hotel.
The Global Donors Forum is the annual convening of the World Congress of Muslim ‎Philanthropists to promote effective giving and forge strategic partnerships for high-‎impact social investment.  The “Rebuilding to Remain in Palestine” initiative was ‎developed in a partnership between Al Aqaba Village, a Palestinian Village in the ‎Jordan Valley, Area C, near Tubas, and the American nonprofit, Rebuilding Alliance, ‎based in San Mateo California.  In 2003, just after Al Aqaba Village won a landmark ‎decision by the Israeli High Court requiring the removal of an Israeli Army training ‎camp from village grounds, Rebuilding Alliance helped Al Aqaba construct a ‎kindergarten that now serves 130 children.  That kindergarten has attracted the ‎further investment of 17 countries, U.N. Agencies, and NGO’s in Al Aqaba Village ‎despite demolition orders issued by the Israeli Army against the mosque, medical ‎clinic, the kindergarten and all the homes but two, for lack of unattainable building ‎permits.  Now the displaced villagers are ready to return home.
‎“This is my smallest project but my most important,” said Architect Hani ‎Hassan who won the European Center’s 2010 International Architecture ‎Award for his energy-efficient Desert House in Jericho. “Al Aqaba Village ‎symbolizes the struggle of thousands of families in the Palestinian Territories for a ‎better life.  A life with freedom and dignity starts with rebuilding their demolished ‎homes, designing affordable new homes that reflect their culture, dreams and ‎hopes.”


The Villagers of Al Aqaba asked Rebuilding Alliance to help them build new homes ‎when they realized that demolition orders issued by the Israeli Army against 97% of ‎their village meant there could soon be no village to return to. Working with ‎Architect Hani Hassan and a vibrant team of advisers in an architectural design ‎charrette, they designed affordable, expandable new homes.  Three are now in ‎construction with 30 planned.  Having completed 3 detailed master plans, the Al ‎Aqaba Village Council issued its own building permits, becoming the first Palestinian ‎town in Area C — that 62% of the West Bank solely controlled by Israel — to do so.  A ‎month later, Rebuilding Alliance became the first to offer an Islamic-compliant ‎mortgage loan to families living in Area C, with the provision that if the home is ‎demolished the family does not repay their loan until occupancy is restored.
‎“We hope people throughout the world will contribute to this courageous building ‎project and so spread-out the financial risk of demolition while engaging their own ‎elected officials to press for the policy change needed to keep these families safe,” said ‎Donna Baranski-Walker, founder of Rebuilding Alliance. “Al Aqaba Village — and the ‎other 148 Palestinian villages in Area C  — deserve the right to build their homes on ‎the land they own, send their children to school down the street, worship freely, and ‎plan their future as good neighbors.  These are basic human rights that cannot wait.”
Al Aqaba Village is a small village that sits on the western edge of the Jordan Valley ‎in the West Bank, near Tubas, guided by visionary Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq Sbaih who ‎invites the world to visit!  Most residents depend on agriculture and animal herding ‎for their livelihood. When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, the army built ‎three bases around Al Aqaba and began conducting live-fire military training within ‎the village itself.  Over 30 years, 12 residents were killed and 38 wounded as a result ‎of these exercises.  Mayor Haj Sami, in a wheelchair for life, was the first victim. In ‎‎2001, the village won a historic victory when the Israeli High Court ordered the ‎Israeli army to remove one of its military bases from village land and cease using the ‎village for training. The village hoped the reduced military presence would allow the ‎‎700 exiled villagers to return and asked the Rebuilding Alliance for help with building ‎a kindergarten. The kindergarten now serves 130 children of parents who live both in ‎and outside the village.  Despite the court victory, in 2004 Al Aqaba’s very existence ‎was threatened when nearly the entire village was issued demolition orders by the ‎Israeli army. The official reason given was a lack of building permits, which are ‎unattainable.  In 2008, the Israeli High Court stated that “For the time being, the ‎center of the village of Al Aqaba will remain standing,” however, the Israeli army has ‎since twice denied Al Aqaba’s urban plan.  The village filed its third urban plan in ‎August, 2011 but has yet to receive approval from the Israeli Army.
About Al Aqaba:
Visit Al Aqaba:
Hani Hassan, Architect, has practiced extensively in Colombia and later in the ‎United States of America and Palestine, where had the opportunity to hold different ‎positions as project manager, team director, and senior architect. He developed ‎excellent experience in architectural design in many different locations and climates. ‎Throughout his career, Arch. Hassan has been concerned with bioclimatic ‎architecture, and green buildings. Arch. Hassan is the recipient of numerous ‎international design awards including the European Center’s 2010 International ‎Architecture Award for his energy-efficient Desert House in ‎Jericho.
Donna Baranski-Walker founded Rebuilding Alliance in 2003 to do something ‎big:  village-centered, world-actuated rebuilding of war-torn communities in a way ‎that begins recovery and assures continuing safety.  Ms. Baranski-Walker holds a B.S. ‎in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.S. ‎in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Hawaii.  She draws upon lessons ‎learned from the Polish Solidarity Movement some 30 years ago, for which she was ‎recently awarded a Medal of Gratitude at the Gdansk Shipyard before 25,000 people.
Rebuilding Alliance is bringing the world together to help Palestinian families ‎rebuild their neighborhoods and recognize their right to plan and build on the land ‎they own.  Rebuilding Alliance’s life affirming vision is a just and enduring peace in ‎Israel and Palestine founded upon equal value, security, and opportunity for all.   ‎Rebuilding Alliance’s programs in Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel are ‎sponsored by donors of all faiths and backgrounds and are featured on ‎  For more information, please visit
Once a year, the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists brings together ‎distinguished philanthropists, public and private sector leaders, social investors, and ‎experts from across the world to offer pragmatic insight and constructive response to ‎pressing global and regional challenges.  The annual Global Donors Forum serves ‎as a marketplace for ideas, a platform for sharing knowledge and forging partnerships, ‎and a launching pad for high-impact collaborative activities. In addition, this forum is ‎widely recognized as the premier worldwide forum on Muslim philanthropy where ‎issues unique to Muslim giving are discussed in a safe space.  ‎
Rebuilding Alliance
‎178 South Boulevard
San Mateo, California 94402US
Contact:  Donna Baranski-Walker, Founder of Rebuilding Alliance
‎ Tel: 1 650 440 9667, Email:

A’ Design Awards 2014 Winners Announced

A' Design Iron Award

A’ Design Awards 2014 Winners Announced International A’ Design Award & Competition announces the bestdesigns of 2013 – 2014 in all design disciplines.A’ Design Award &Competition, the worlds’ largest and most diffused international design awards announced results of the 2013 – 2014 design competition.

The A’ Design Awards are given for Good Spatial Design (Architecture, Interior Design, Urban Design and LandscapeDesign), Good Industrial Design (Product Design, Appliance Design, Vehicle Design and Machinery Design), Good Communication Design (Graphics Design, Interaction Design and Marketing Design), Good FashionDesign (Garment Design, Fashion Accessory Design and Footwear Design), Good System Design (Service Design, Design Strategy, Quality & Innovation) as well as for Achievements in Arts & Literature.

Arch. Hani Hassan winner of A’ Design Award 2014, received two Awards for his projects Design , Desert House and Arab American University Sports Hall. In Como, Italy.

Architecture Award – Italy


Laureates are invited to attend the glamorous gala-night and award ceremony in Italy where they would be called to stage to collect their trophies, award certificates and yearbooks. Winner are also provided exclusive space to take part in the “best designs of the year” exhibition to showcase their works in Italy. Laureates are also entitled to receive the “A’ Design Prize”.



International Architecture Award 2010



The international architecture awards are the highest and most prestigious distinguished buildings awards that honor new and cutting-edge design.

This annual program , organized by The Chicago Atheneum: Meusum of Architecture and Design, and The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, received a rocord number of projects for new buildings, Landscape Architecture, andurban planning from most important firms practicing globally.




The 2010 Jury for awards was held in Mexico City, under the auspices of the Colegio deArquitectos de la Ciudad de Mexico and 95 projects from 38 nations were selected bydistinguished group of Mexican architects, educators, and critics.

Hani Hassan was awarded the 2010 International Architecture Award for his Desert House design in Jericho, Palestine, design that was presented in Madrid, Spain as one of the 6 most distinguished projects.


Design & consultancy services partially donated by Hani Hassan Architects

In October 2009, Arch. Hani Hassan was commissioned by Surda Village council, to ‎design Surda Great Mosque, immediately Arch. Hassan decided to donate his consultancy ‎services to join the community effort to make this project come true.

Surda; a growing and prosperous village, located north of Ramallah and Al Bireh Cities, ‎is facing today a great urban expansion and needs to be prepared for such development, ‎I believe that this project is a crucial point on it’s preparation for such a challenge. ‎

The design created a welcoming great open public space “ Plaza “ as part of the ‎mosque extension, reflecting the importance of integration between religious buildings ‎and public space. ‎



‎1.‎ Lot area: 3000 M2‎
2.‎ Mosque construction area: 2000M2 ‎
3.‎ Exterior plaza area: 850 M2 ‎
‎4.‎ Parking area for 22 cars: 750 M2‎
‎5.‎ Prayers capacity: 700 person.‎
‎6.‎ Cost Estimate: US2,500,000.‎

I believe Mosques are symbols of faith and peace, and places to spread the world of ‎God, knowledge and love between humankind. This spirit must be reflected also in ‎it’s architecture.‎