This conference aims to contextualize the creation of Modernist architecture and cities in Mandate Palestine (1920–1948). It seeks to trace the ways in which Modernist ideals were adapted and challenged when they came into contact with local practices, communities and agendas. The conference sees architecture as a process. Rather than focusing on a pristine finished building, it looks at buildings as sites of construction where different people, materials and techniques came together, reflecting, adapting, and rejecting the architectural practices and styles that coexisted with it. The conference moves away from a focus on individual architects to include the myriad agents involved in creating actual spaces and highlights the resulting lived environments.
The first panel of the conference deals with local challenges to modernist ideals. Bauhaus as a school was a contested space where different approaches to architecture were debated, accepted and refuted. These approaches are discussed in the first panel. Panel 2 shifts attention to the different historical agents involved. It does so by exploring the complexities in creating Modernism in Mandate Palestine, its contextualization within local and international building practices and material procurement. The third and final panel is dedicated to the historical experiences of communities. It explores the different ways in which individuals and groups appropriated, adopted and rejected their Modernist architecture and urbanism. In so doing, it sheds light on processes of cooperation and friction between urban planning and local communities.