UDAD 2018 Landscape Design

The Untrodden Trail – Al Baqourah by Jude Abu El Ghanam

Capturing the exquisite abandoned & unreclaimed controversial land of Al-Baqourah, located on the Northern borderline between Jordan & Occupied Palestine by a journey that narrates the site’s story and uncovers the inaccessible fragments of the site which holds historical, natural & architectural significance.

Urban Design & Architecture Design Awards 2018
Third Award | Category: Landscape Design
Architects: Jude Abu El Ghanam
University: German Jordanian University

Country: Jordan

This area is undergoing a political issue now. As part of the 1994 Peace Treaty, Jordan placed Al Baqourah under a “Special Regime” that guaranteed lease to Israel for 25 years. According to the agreement, Jordan can inform Israel by 26/10/2018 that it does not intend to renew the lease if Jordan wants to reclaim full control over it, or it will be renewed automatically for the same period (25 years). Now, Al Baqourah stands as an abandoned and unreclaimed, restricted military zone where it is frozen in a no man’s land.

A walking trail, which follows the trace of the pre-existing railway, stitches existing fragments as well as new minimal interventions, reducing materials to those on site; rusted concrete plus cor-ten steel and glass, inspired by the industrial ruins on site.

The journey starts from the old staff houses, transformed into a visitor’s center. The path first goes by to the train station, transformed into a gallery, reaches the zero channel, across the junction point lookout and the restaurant. It continues through the hydroelectric power plant, transformed into a site museum, which memorializes the area’s past, then crosses the transformer and electrical circuit station, through a memorial that symbolizes the important past events. Finally, it goes down into the complex of bridges and the final hope lookout over the River Jordan, the hope of reclaiming the land. The village, transformed into lodges for overnight stay and connected to the bird-watching area.