Bethlehem University, Mount David Campus

Bethlehem, Palestine (work in progress)

The Bethlehem University redevelopment forms the basis of a new campus in one of the most culturally significant locations in Palestine. The landscaped areas surround new and existing refurbished buildings for a new teaching hotel and faculty for hospitality. The design inspiration was from Salem House, a small palace and one of the heritage buildings to be restored. The landscape reflects traditional Arabic Palestinian garden design characterised by formal geometric layouts, greenery to provide shade, scent and colour and water features to provide a sense of cooling during the hot summer and a space for spiritual contemplation.

The selection of plant material was referenced from traditional Islamic gardens, jasmine, roses, pomegranate, lilies, geraniums, lavender and rosemary. The inclusion of olive trees and date palms was a symbolic gesture to acknowledge their significant and ancient value to the Palestinian people. The date palms in the car parking areas were laid out in a traditional geometric quincunx pattern. This provides shade and connects the geometric theme to the other gardens. The landscaping includes formal water features, orange parterre, rose garden, gravel courtyards, roof top gardens and a hedged poolside garden room.

Architects: Ormsby Design Group

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