Born into a family of architects, Elias and Yousef Anastas graduated from Paris with masters degrees in architecture and both worked there for a while. Elias returned to Bethlehem after winning a competition for a music conservatory while Yousef graduated from Paris with a second Masters in structural engineering. They founded Local Industries in 2012, a community of bold artisans and designers dedicated to industrial furniture-making, and SCALES in 2016, a research department that is constantly enhanced by linking scales that are usually opposed. Their studio’s work brings together architecture practices, furniture making, research projects and cultural initiatives.
Their most recent works include Qamt, acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Radio alHara–a community-based online radio, the Hebron courthouse project, and Stonematters–experimentation-based research onto the possibilities of stone use in contemporary architecture. They are also about to launch The Wonder Cabinet in Bethlehem, a cultural endeavor to create an art production platform bringing together artisans and artists.
Founded in 1979, AAU Anastas is a wholly-owned Palestinian architectural and engineering practice with offices in Bethlehem and Paris. Thinking of a project as a process is the only common thread running through their work. Beginning the thinking of a project at the opposite end of the planning spectrum, from the bottom up, helps AAU Anastas merge into the deep understanding of local knowledge, and capacities of widening or subverting the initial end result to new uses. They consider the process as a means of minimizing energy consumption between design and realization. Working directly with factories and artisans enables the designers to optimize the energy consumption in function of the resources available and the ambitions. AAU Anastas believes that sustainability is no excuse for sacrifices. Instead, research is a synonym of ambition for a more sustainable, more comfortable, and more interactive design.
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