Traces of Socialism in Amman Exhibition By Nuha Innab


Nuha Innab during the exhibition, Ali Yass ©

Ali Yass ©

Ever present in the forum of architectural discourse, Modernism and socialism formed the powerful spacio-political tandem of the 20th century. Today we consider them as nothing more than a collection of somewhat interesting material substances, but is there more to those spaces that we’re not examining?

Nuha Innab* a Palestinian-Jordanian architect brought together by the exhibition “Traces of Socialism The Lab in Darat Al Funun in which raised interesting discussion and questions that between the 1950s until the 1970s, Amman was building its modern identity independently from the Arab Nationalist states ( and ). However, a trace of a social space can be found hidden in the corners of the city, taking the passersby to an intriguing social and urban structure that is rarely spoken of. Those traces were found in a house built by the government.

Al Rawda ramp, Nuha Innab ©

Al Rawda roofs, Nuha Innab ©

Al Rawda housing, The gang. Nuha Innab ©

The exhibition showcases the results of a project that documents public housing through photography, and investigates the notion of ”the public “ and the massive, while unfolding spatial characters and architectural language that was long gone. HKZ caught up with Nuha Innab and in this article, Innab speaks more on what architecture and the city mean to her and how her memories informed the exhibition.

Abu Nseir entrance, Nuha Innab ©

Abu Nseir Wall, Nuha Innab ©

From the Architect:

My first encounters with Abu-Nseir and Al-Rawda complex were at early age. The first one was where Abu Jihad -a friend of the family- lived, and the second was our own amusement park as kids, due to its proximity to my aunt’s house.?There are many differences between the two places, one is a relative time difference related to my personal experience, and one in general, in both ways, Abu-Nseir was older, on the other hand distance and geography, background and typologies. What was in common and I did not realize until I finished my architectural studies, was how much influence both places have on my taste in architecture, and what I consider as a successful example for building and planning.

Abu-Nseir was situated on the visit map from Kuwait -where the court down our building was the only “space”- to Amman, whereas Al Rawda was on the final return map from Kuwait, and the visits from Zarqa1 to Amman, Al-Zarqa, where the street is, and there is no playing, and Amman where kids have skateboards.

Al Rawda housing common wall, Nuha Innab ©

Al Rawda Atrium, Nuha Innab ©

Abu Nsair overview, Nuha Innab ©

What I did not realize as a fact then, how much the distance between and around the two places, in time and geography, have represented, from unfinished plans and constant change in policies. Time and distance, public and private, ownership and land division, have always been changing and influential in the ever new city for me, Amman.

The collective understanding, the public in its political and planning definition, or as an architectural language, holds many possibilities for decay and failure, but as well capable of producing most successful and consistent systems. It is the collective act that builds up from square 1 to a complete visible outcome, distant from the solitude of the individual and his incomplete understanding for space

Old Marka housing, Nuha Innab ©

About the Architect:

Nuha Innab is a Palestinian -Jordanian architect, born in and based in Amman. She recently obtained her Masters degree in Urbanism from Germany and . She is interested in different forms of individual and collective movements, the influence of the socio-political forces on the cityscape and the citizen-state-city relation. When it comes to the city of Amman, her interest has taken different forms, but is mostly represented in photography documentation, and by investigating the background of those images.

The exhibition in Darat Al Funun, Ali Yass ©

Ali Yass ©

Ali Yass ©

Ali Yass ©

 Click here to check out Innab’s website for more work

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