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Palestinian Architect Now Rebuilds with Words

Suad Amiry, a Palestinian architect who is now an author, tries to rebuild her world with both physical structures and with words. This report is a continuation of a NewsHour series on writers in the Middle East.

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  • SUAD AMIRY, Palestinian Author:

    Here, actually if you look up there, there is a stone that mentions, above the bird, it mentions the name of the owner…


    Suad Amiry is an architect by profession, and now, as she says, an accidental writer. Her architectural calling came 25 years ago, when she first set eyes on the old buildings in Palestinian villages.


    The villages were sort of indigenous and were part of the landscape. And these stone houses, the scale of those buildings, the small scale of the roads, the natural setting was very, very beautiful.


    Amiry's Palestinian father fled his home in Jaffa, on the Mediterranean coast, in the midst of the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel, and Amiry herself was born and raised in Jordan and Syria.

    She studied architecture in Lebanon and the United States before coming to the West Bank city of Ramallah in 1981. Ten years later, she founded the Riwaq Center for Architectural Conservation, an award-winning organization that restores and preserves old Palestinian buildings.