Acre’s timeline dates back centuries, and regardless of era, the Old City has always been a resilient stronghold. The sea surrounding the old city peninsula is an integral part of the urban fabric, and the citizen’s lifestyle and culture and has always been the key to Acre’s role. However, the people’s relationship with the sea undergoes constant tension and attempts to sever it.
This project poses a question: How can the people-sea relationship be redefined and embodied in a way that preserves the city’s heritage and carves a new path of sustainable and regenerative design for the Old City of Acre’s future?
Acre’s Old City is uniquely built: a city on top of a city, layer upon layer. The completely obscure and now-underground Crusader city lies under the Ottoman city, which was used as its foundation after the Mamluks period. Atop those cities are more and more layers that were added following the British Mandate period up until today. This project suggests what the next layer to the old city fabric could be.
To the best of my ability, alongside the complexity that accompanies the Old City, I wanted to explore the act of preservation and try to take it a step further into regeneration. Part of my intention is to critique the current commercialization of Old Acre as a tourist city, which inevitably is turning its raw beauty into an artificial aesthetic, causing it to lose part of its identity.
The citizen’s livelihoods and homes are under constant threat, and future plans for the Old City are tourist-oriented rather than benefiting the people of the city. This project offers a community-oriented program in strategically chosen sites throughout Old Acre that utilizes, stores, and distributes wave-power to fully sustain the intervention points’ energy needs and the buildings surrounding each site, while turning them into attractions.
My hope for this project is that it might suggest a new perspective when looking at Old Acre. Some may be skeptical about its ability to succeed, but in my opinion, it is our responsibility to try. This new vision offers programs curated specifically to the needs of the city’s citizens, giving them a say in the planning; resolidifies the city’s identity; and attracts visitors that will hopefully get to know the real Old Acre.