Khaliya (Arabic: خلیة†) means “cell”, as in khaliyat nahil, a honeycomb.
Khaliya is a speculative housing proposal exploring an architecture that facilitates community gathering, gaining solidarity and seeking independence. We drew on traditional forms and spaces from our combined cultures to imagine possibilities that can disrupt the growing feeling of isolation.
By continuously pushing for and prioritizing the centralization of communality and collectivity in our living environments, we hope to develop an empowering sense of community within the residential scheme, which lends itself to building trust and security. Khaliya was designed with our own communities in mind: womxn, (QT)BIPOC, artists or creatives, and migrants or asylum seekers. This scheme intends to serve them within any environmental context.
Our design provides a structural framework that allows for adaptability, room for growth and freedom of choice for the residents: on a larger scale, by using a system of modules in clustered or hive-like configurations and, on a smaller scale, with a flexible floor plan and an adaptable, scaffolding-like structure. The housing modules are elevated above ground level, not only providing security and privacy for the residents but also transparency above and below for the overall community. The material and structural concepts pursue longevity and sustainability in terms of construction and space without disregarding affordability.
The current global pandemic has not only been a reminder of our inherent spatial needs but has drawn attention to the entrenched inequalities that further disregard the lives of marginalized communities, black and brown people, and displaced asylum seekers.
We were conscious of these inequalities as we developed this project since they impacted our own lives prior to and during the pandemic. Our mobility, quality of life, and the trajectory of our careers are continuously challenged by borders, gatekeepers, institutional racism, and intolerance. As a result, our experiences with(in) architectural design and academia have further heightened the urgency to break free from its bubble of irresponsibility.
This project was initially conceived in response to an international competition brief. In addition to working against local limitations across borders, travel restrictions, internet shutdowns, and job rejections, we were also severely disappointed to find that our request for a short extension was declined and our entry dismissed. Ultimately, we persevered with this project as it became a manifestation of our collaborative friendship and our collective imagination of a world we can thrive in together.