Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR)
Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency is a Palestinian art and architecture collective and a residency program based in Beit Sahour, Palestine. Organized by architects Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti, and Eyal Weizman, DAAR examines the possible re-usage of existing architecture in occupied territories–a process they refer to as “Revolving Door Occupancy.”
In 2006, the Israeli army evacuated Oush Grab (literally translated as “The Crow’s Nest”), a hilltop military site at the edge of Beit Sahour, Bethlehem, from which colonial regimes had governed Palestine for centuries. When Israeli settlers took control of the abandoned building, Decolonized Architecture Art Residency (DAAR), along with other Palestinian and international activists, reclaimed Oush Grab as public space and initiated plans to convert it into a multiuse park. To generate interest as well as support for the plan, DAAR hosted bingo games, film screenings, prayer sessions, and tours of the land with the help of NGOs and the local municipality. The Israeli settlers retaliated by marking the old structure with graffiti, which DAAR responded to by organizing community cleanup measures. In addition, after discovering that same hilltop was also a roosting ground for thousands of migrating birds, DAAR punctured the structure with holes in order to transform it into both an observatory and a nesting place.