The award-winning architect Nadia Habash, newly elected as the first woman to head the Palestinian Engineers Association, says she will strive to “improve the working conditions of engineers and preserve the dignity of a profession.”
In an online interview, she said that wherever she had worked previously, her goal was “to include economic rights, freedom, and dignity for all sectors of society.”
One of the founders of the Department of Architecture at Birzeit University, Habash is well known for restoring historic sites in ways that benefit the local community.
Her work on the Arraba Palaces, near the West Bank town of Jenin, won her the Hassib Sabbagh and Said Khoury award in 2017. Two years later, she was named one of the 50 most influential architects in the Middle East.
Habash was born in Jerusalem in 1959 and graduated from the University of Jordan’s School of Architecture in 1982. Her graduation project was a design for a “defensive” housing suburb for middle-income workers in the Ras Tala area of Ramallah. The project reflected her idea of the role of architecture in meeting people’s economic and psychological needs.
It also demonstrated the resistance of the Palestinian community in Ramallah to occupation, as the neighborhood was designed to alert residents in different ways if strangers entered.