The National Music Consenatoire ( Edward Said)

Major restoration projects
The National Music Consenatoire ( Edward Said)

The National Music Consenatoire ( Edward Said)


The Shihabi family building located in al-Zahra Str. In East Jerusalem was last owned by the late Zuleikha Shihabi who was a renowned Palestinian women’s rights activist. It dates back to 1900-1920. This residence delineates a particular and important period in the social, cultural, economic and political development in Jerusalem. It has historic aesthetic, technological and documental value. After its restoration and adaptive reuse it will house the Edward Sa’eed Institute for Music, which is affiliated to Birzeit University.



Aesthetic Value

 The building is situated in a business district at a close distance to the northern city wall of Jerusalem, particularly to Herod’s Gate. It occupies around 350 m. sq. in an 800 m. sq. lot. Although there are three other historical buildings on the same street, it is the only significant building in terms of its authenticity, lot size and recess off the street. Its scale within the lot and the outstanding southern façade imply an old classical residence. The passer by notices the building due to the significant front yard and the ancient eucalyptus trees; the first impression indicates ultimate classical symmetry of the front façade that has elegant ornamentation above the front door and each pair of windows.


Restoration Works

 The restoration works started at the beginning of 2011, but they were preceded by a number of studies since the building will be used as a music academy. Therefore, it was essential to take acoustics into consideration within the reconstruction design.  The renovation was used as a model within the third training course on the management and renovation of historic buildings as there were many specialized studies related to it before implementation, which helped the students learn a great deal.

The restoration and adaptive reuse will take place in three stages. The first included rehabilitation of the infrastructure. All electrical installations were renewed and the mechanical aspects were dealt with, especially the technical considerations for acoustic requirements.

A floating floor was added, as a form of insulation to the second floor of the building. Additionally insulation was added to the walls, the doors and the windows to cover the acoustics requirements. Furthermore, all the wood and iron works in all the floors were dismantled and then fixed or maintained. The missing parts were replicated and then replaced. The internal courtyard was covered with a polycarbonate covering that has windows that open and close electrically; and a hanging bridge was placed above the covering.

The second stage, which will be mainly electromechanical installations, startedt in October 2011 and the third, which is the landscaping stage for the area around the building complated in 2013.