- Research Interests/Specializations
History of architecture and urbanism, ordinary landscapes, and communal settlements
- Master of Architecture, The Cooper Union
- Master of Architectural History, McGill University
I am a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to Berkeley I worked for a few years as an architect in New York and Tel Aviv. During this time, I was involved in a variety of projects ranging from large-scale public buildings in East Europe to housing projects in Jerusalem and small residential projects in the US.
My dissertation examines the design debates that accompanied the construction of West Bank settlements in the decades that followed the Six-Day War. Focusing on the interaction between settlers, architects, and state officials, it provides the first historical account of the pivotal yet heretofore disregarded role of planning and design in the shaping of settlements and settlers' identity. Drawing on archival material and a series of interviews I conducted in Israel and the West Bank, I show how after the war settler activists sought a new aesthetic language that would speak to their sense of belonging to the land, and, respectively, initiated a unique dialogue with architects and state officials. Even though the negotiations they initiated with professional planners went in unexpected directions, they offer a unique look at the internal dynamics and reasoning of settlers as they fashioned identities related to urban and architectural forms found not only in Israel proper, but also associated with the neighboring Palestinians. Unearthing these design debates, then, I show how what many view as a dull suburban landscape, the outcome of a shallow land-grabbing project, was actually an important site of national self-fashioning and experimentation with architecture and urban forms.