“we will tell our story in our own words, we will transcribe our historical plot and relationship with the place, we shall inscribe the memory of place, and the place of memory” Mahmoud Darwish
Paying homage to one of the most significant figures of contemporary humanitarian culture, national and international icon, late poet Mahmoud Darwish; a memorial park named after his birthplace Al-Birweh is lyrically designed to persist his legacy and memorialize the place where he rests in peace.
As a poet who brilliantly transformed a nation’s cause into a symbol of universal struggle, engraving the Palestinian reality in the memory of people worldwide, a tribute to the memory of Mahmoud Darwish is a tribute to humbleness, resistance, to effortless grace, to freedom and dreams, to reality, to hope, ambition and longing, to existence and coexistence, to land, villages and love, to peace and identity; A tribute to Homeland.
A linear and central stone stairway interweaved by a ramped path elevates the visitor into a journey up the hill where pauses of the stairway further extend to free-standing walls, water features, rock-garden terraces and open-space platforms that each differently articulate distinct spaces such as the “speaker’s corner” -an open platform for free speech overlooking a body of water- and the 500-seat outdoor theater dedicated to the expression of art and any other creative act.
This ascending and episodic passage allows the visitor to gradually experience and interact with the different components of the park, until reaching the top as the experience culminates to the central square that leads to the mausoleum of the poet, where an elegantly-cut tombstone appears, engraved with the poet’s words and humbly resting in a small bounded garden of native flowers.
On both sides of the central square, two rough-stone identical masses incline as though emerging from natural ground and respectively bowing towards the mausoleum. These stone masses – unpretentious and grounded- are visually complementing to the non-built park components and appear in continuum with the terraced gardens and landscaped walls. One of the masses houses the museum hall, the other the indoor theater hall.
The museum hall narrates the different aspects of Mahmoud Darwish’s life; featuring some of his belongings – the poet’s office his coffee cup-, handwritten manuscripts including the original handwritten text of the Declaration of Independence, calligraphy of his poetry verses adorning the walls, several awards and certificates as well as a showcase of all his published volumes of poetry and prose. To further engage the visitor; the poet’s deep voice resounds to video display of his recitals and sequential photos of different stages of his life.
The theater hall, flexible to be sub-used as three separate spaces, is anticipated as a venue to foster poetry reading and various artistic and cultural events. Consequently, the architectural outcome is an interactive unguarded cultural, public place that will continue to relate, pulsate, interpret and express the memory, legacy and cultural consciousness of Mahmoud Darwish, as his words will always “exist”
“Death, all the arts have defeated you, all of them.”
Principal Architect: Jafar Tukan
Partner Architect: Shadi Abdulsalam
Project Architect: Shereen Aswad