Without entering the political questions and complications but trying to address the question of a divided city as a philosophical and architectural problem, when attempting to address the division of Jerusalem and establishing a sustainable division (and link) between East and West, one has to consider the necessity of preserving the connectivity between both sides of a city that has functioned as one entity for many years. The unique urban character of Jerusalem depends largely on the ability of movement from one side of the city to the other: workers, tourists, traders, business people, government officials and diplomats, will all become dependent upon the facilities linking East and West and how much they will encourage cooperation, understanding and normality along a potential border.
The Geneva accords present an initial plan for a major crossing facility in North Jerusalem. The workshop will be led by SAYA architects Karen Lee Bar-Sinai and Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat and Chen Farkas with Palestinian peers; they will recommend the use of this location for a major crossing facility, approved by the Geneva Initiative team, for many reasons: firstly, its location at the intersection of main Israeli and Palestinian inter-city roads allows easy access from both sides of the border and both from within and outside the city. Secondly, the site enables East-Jerusalem residents’ daily commute to work in West Jerusalem. Thirdly, the proximity of the site to the light rail station (Israeli side) will link it to local transportation systems and commuting routes. Lastly, the facility can function not only as a crossing point, but as a major urban joint connecting East and West Jerusalem as well.
The workshop addressed architectural issues, analyzed and designed the factors that will enhance the civil, transportation, urban and environmental cooperation between the two parts of the city, and how they can be implemented into a building or complex of buildings. This workshop attempted to develop a project that is “green” in many layers: from green building design and technology, to the creation of an urban entity aiming to create the platform for sustainable social, cultural, financial, environmental development and solutions in a new context.