Amman, Jordan

Jordan is increasing its strategic importance in Middle East because of its political and economy stability, continuous international investments and the efforts of King Abdullah II in mediating the stressing regional situation.
During the last ten years the amount of new building within the capitol city of Amman has increased dramatically with new districts founded at a very rapid pace, straining the very scarce water supplies of Jordan as a whole, and exposing Amman to the hazards of rapid expansion in the absence of careful municipal planning.
The city's population continues to expand after the settlement of waves of refugees arriving mainly from Palestina and Irak, involving the future development in both environmental and humanitarian challenges.


Um rajem

Housing development with agricultural land as alternative to recent urbanization

A rich and intensively used agricultural land close to Al Baqa’a,is being transform into a urbanization of residential plot for low density development. During the construction the fertile soil, scarce in Jordan, is being removed to adapt terrain to streets and building foundations.
The project proposes an alternative solution to the necessity of building dwellings but maintaining most of the agricultural potential of the site.
Long and narrow bars of multi storey apartments buildings are placed following the boundaries of existing land subdivision or existing roads. The buildings, along only one side of the streets, are settled in a way that land is not enclosed. The relief of the site is put in evidence by maintaining an unique level for the roof of each block, and adapting the high of the building.
Different typologies find places in the buildings. There are duplex units with private courtyards, entering directly from the sidewalk. Some double high gaps within the buildings resolve the change of number of storey and at the same time create a covered public space with smalls hops. An semipublic staircase connected to these points served an elevated wide corridor give access to the upper units.

land area 81'000 m²
housing units 58'500 m² 365 units
agricultural land 67'000 m²
public spaces 1'400 m²
public facilities 1'350 m²
commercial spaces 1'200 m²
population 1'500
density 185 inhabitants/ha

Andrea Nardi
Italy, AAM

Um butma

Housing development as alternative to a recently implemented urbanization

The site is a part of a very fast growing residential area located on a slope, with open views an very well connected to the city grid. The project propose an alternative to the existing and recently built layout of streets and plots, taking in consideration the complexity of the topography, the sun exposure, the intensive inclination of the slope and the connections to existing access.
An unique street is laid out sinuously following the topography in order to serve the hole site with a reduced inclination. An single square plot is used to parcel the residential areas. The plots are organized in groups, rotated in order to follow the slope. The buildings, of rectangular shaped are placed with the short side against the slope. Pedestrian ways are laid on the limits of the parcel. The result is such that excavation is reduced to a minimum, solar exposure and open views are ensured, and entrance to all the apartments directly from the outside public space is possible.
The different orientation of the facades gives identity to each group of buildings and the remaining space in between the plots, kept as natural park, constitutes an unitarian element that unify all the complex. A network of pedestrian paths, squares, and public buildings “irrigate” the whole site stimulating social life.
In the residential buildings, different typologies find place: big apartment on the top, passing throw duplexes in the central part, with gardens in to the back and small apartments in the basements, with gardens on the front, in which their high is set according to the precise inclination of plot.

land area 22'3000 m²
housing units 173'000 m² 1278 units
public facilities 4'600 m²
population 5'100
density 230 inhabitants/ha

Yousef Sayyed Ahmad
Jordan, UJ

Al marka

Housing development as alternative to a recently implemented urbanization

The site is a depressed left over area in between the highway and the Al Marka social housing complex. It has been recently urbanized with streets and plots. The project intends to be an alternative to the present situation.
The new proposal is intended as an extension of the nearby Al Marka neighborhood. A new long building with commercial functions is situated in the border towards the highway taking advantage the direct accessibility and screening the residential area from noise and traffic.
The housing blocks emulate the proportion and simplicity of the constructions from the existing neighborhood. The accesses to the blocks happen at the first floor level throw a series of pedestrian bridge hanging in between the buildings and connected to the external main streets. The elevated level of the entrance and the choose of duplex typologies allow to reach six storey floor buildings without the necessity of elevators while liberating the ground level for private gardens.
In the Nord and South ends, two public parks with playgrounds are situated, connected with a pedestrian path way passing throw the gardens.

land area 55'000 m²
housing units 5'2000 m² 336 units
public facilities 2'0250 m²
population 5'100
density 1'700 inhabitants/ha

Saad Alrabadi
Jordan, UJ

South Amman

Roads & plots development as alternative to a recently implemented urbanization

The site is an almost regular parcel incorporated to the southern periphery of Amman. An important slope, allows visual relations with the city panorama. An important school complex occupies the upper part while a new main road is been constructed crossing the site dividing the site in two parts.
The land has been recently urbanized with streets and plots consuming an important part of the budget in excavations and earth works. The project intends to be an sustainable alternative to the present situation.
The alternative project maintain the assigned number and average area of plots. The proposed streets are laid parallel to the slope in a way that minimize excavation, both in the street and future houses construction and also allow visuals to the city from all the plots.
The crossing main road remains excavated to ensure the required inclination and is framed by two commercial buildings placed on it sides. The produced cut on the site is solved by a bridge connecting the two parts of the neighborhood, also integrated with a path way pedestrian circulation.

land area 90'000 m²
housing units 50'000 m² 175 units
commercial spaces 5'600 m²
population 1'000
density 110 inhabitants/ha

Heba Najada
Jordan, UJ

Abu alanda

Roads & plots development as alternative to a recently implemented urbanization

A huge site that incorporates two hills within its perimeter it is locate outside the city and is served by a main road passing in the proximities.
The difficulties created by the sinuosity of the site boundaries and the complex topography are tackled by a precise strategy: a main road connected to the access follows the contours at an intermediate level. The two hills result surrounded by a loop and the upper part became preserved for a natural landscaped park. A second level of roads opening perpendicular from the main road serve different oriented pockets of plots. External plots are served by footpaths within a distance accorded by local regulations (max. 40 meters).
Commercial plots are situated facing the main road, and public facilities such as schools, mosque, and community building are placed in the irregular left-over spaces in between the regular groups of plots.
Even with anonymous or chaotic constructions occupying the site in the future, the regularity and compactness of each pocket of plots will create identity and orientation inside the big complex. When the expected sprawl will surround the site, the two empty hill tops will became a necessary landmark.

site area 650'000 m²
land plots 380'000 m² 950 units
public spaces 61'000 m²
public facilities 9'000 m²
population 5'200
density 80 inhabitants/ha

Shaofeng Chiu
Taiwan, AAM

Rawabi al nuouqira

Housing development in vacant land

The irregular shaped property is located in a desert area, almost attached to the southeastern periphery of Amman. The neighborhood will be served by new planned roads and will mainly host families of the workers of the National Civil Defense quarters under construction nearby.
The project emulates the traditional foundational scheme in the desert, based on the construction of an introverted and geometrically regular walled precinct. An ancient graveyard and an abandoned rural house not far from the site testify this settlement strategy.
The dimension and orientation of the main complex is related to the topography, going parallel to the slope in order to reduce earthworks during construction. The housing blocks that compose the complex create an continuous perimeter and enclose a series of internal open air spaces ranging from private gardens to public squares. Two public buildings, a mosque and a community building are integrated within the scheme.
All the housing units are passing-throw typologies in order to ensure cross-ventilation as well as visual connection both to public spaces and gardens. The remaining land of the surroundings within the property boundaries is subdivided in small plots, anticipating the future low density expansion of the city.

land area 90'000 m²
housing units 39'500 m² 480 units
land plots 31'700 m² 91 units
public spaces 3'050 m²
public facilities 2'750 m²
population 2'500
density 270 inhabitants/ha

Cristian D'Elia
Italy, AAM

Na'ur II

Housing development in existing roads & plots urbanization

The site is a recently development of streets and infrastructurated plots, as an extension of an existing neighborhood. The street were laid out in a regular and unspecific way and without any concern to the inclination of the land.
The project attempts to contextualized the housing building by looking carefully to topography and orientation. In fact, an unique rule is applied to the whole complex. The high of the single building is such in order to have all the apartments with an open view to the south, excluded the ground levels that count with a private garden. The buildings on the western end reach all the same high since the view is also possible to the sides.
The monotonous and rigid position of footprint of the buildings is broken by the variety of elevations scattered in the slope. The irregular corners of the blocks are left empty as public spaces, and served by commercial spaces situated on the lower levels of the nearby buildings.

land area 42'000 m²
housing units 32'500 m² 347 units
commercial spaces 800
population 1'700
density 400 inhabitants/ha

Marah Abu Saleh
Jordan, UJ

Na'ur I

Housing development in existing roads & plots urbanization

The site is a recently development of streets and infrastructurated plots. In order to fit the maximum amount of regular plots within the parcel boundaries, the upper plots had been planned with a different orientation in relation to those in the lower level.
In the project a single four storey block building surrounded by perimeter walls is proposed for all the plots. The partition walls create intimate courtyards in the ground levels while adapting the building to the different plot proportions and given an homogeneous aspect to the whole complex.
Each buildings is compound of similar eight duplexes. The four lower units have direct access to their gardens while the roof terrace is divided in four to serve as external space for the four upper units.
A school and community building is planned on the lower and triangular shaped corner, while a commercial area is located close to the main street. Connecting these two facilities, a pathway covered by aligned trees is proposed as a social and significant spine for the complex.

land area 42'000 m²
housing units 32'500 m² 296 units
public facilities 3'000 m²
commercial spaces 4'800
population 1'500
density 360 inhabitants/ha

Tommaso Arnaboldi
Italy, AAM

Al Hoda

Housing development in vacant land

A magnificent natural land overlooking the Jordan Valley has been planned to become a satellite neighborhood of the near city of As Salt. The site is on a slope, connected by an existing secondary road passing on the eastern an lower part of the land.
In the project the housing units are aligned in row-houses. The long buildings follow perfectly the slopes in its different points, adapting to the topography. Each moment the slope changes, the row cuts and a new row starts. With this spatial strategy, each row has its own inclination according to its position.
The main intention is to maintain the idyllic atmosphere of the place, reducing the quantity of streets and the footprint of the construction, integrating buildings to the landscape. The main road passing throw the site lays horizontally within the length of the urbanization and together with a public facilities building function as main public space. Each secondary street served access of two row of buildings. Housing bars are modulated in four storey buildings containing different typologies of apartments. Each unit, with independent access from the street, counts on an private open air space: a garden in the ground floor units, a courtyard in the central units, and a roof terrace in the upper ones.

land area 190'500 m²
housing units 8'1700 m² 524 units
public facilities 5'660 m²
population 2'900
density 150 inhabitants/ha

Rand Wahbeh
Jordan, UJ

Ein Al Basha

Housing development in existing roads & plots urbanization

The site is in the north of Amman, close to the centre of Al Baq’a. An axial street with available plots for residential blocks has been recently build in the border of an expanding neighborhood.
In the project, the long and almost straight street is understood not as a limit but as a main street connecting the close neighborhoods and the future development that will take place in the South.
The buildings, with shops and flexible spaces on the ground level, and duplex apartments in the upper floors are stepped back from the street creating semi-public terraces for open air expansion of shops, cafes and workshops. The single small block module is repeated in different positions all over the site in a way to give to al the units a visual relation with the main street. The use of the module allows costs reduction and a reduction of the construction details.
The modules are separated by gaps containing the staircases that serve the duplexes. Since the modules are structurally independent, the buildings follow the different inclination of the land.

land area 72'350 m²
housing units 4'1650 m² 312 units
residential plots 2'7000 m² 45 units
public spaces 4'500 m²
population 2'100
density 290 inhabitants/ha

Erica Pasetti
Italy, AAM

Program of activities


Presentation of the WISH 2008 in Mendrisio

Workshop in Amman

Guided visits:
  • City of Amman
  • Housing examples in Amman
  • Refugees camps in Amman
  • 10 project sites
Meetings and lectures at:
  • Jordan University Campus
  • Amman Municipality
  • Royal Scientific Society
  • SDC offices in Amman

Workshop in Mendrisio

Design atelier Collective critics Projects discussion with guest critics Nabil Abu-Dayeh, ISM


Exhibition opening in Mendrisio


Exhibition opening in Amman



The WISH project
Martino Pedrozzi and Otto Krausbeck

Traditional Architecture
Dr. Nabil Al-Kurdi

Planning Amman
Dr. Nabil Abu-Dayyeh

Architetcure & Environment
Dr. M. Kalaldeh

Social Housing Policies
Arch B. Zreiqat

Contemporary Arhitecture in Jordan
Arch. A-Q. Tarabieh

Royal Scientific Society (RSS)
Mr. Tala Awadallah, Dr. Adnan, Dr. Hanan Nimri

Greater Amman Municipality (GAM)

Housing & Urban Development Corporation (HUDC)

Guest critics

Nabil Abu-Dayeh, University of Jordan
Annick Tonti, ISM
Claudio Naiaretti, ISM



Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio
Palazzo Turconi
Mendrisio, Switzerland


Exhibition Hall
City Hall
Amman, Jordan


Department of Architecture
University of Jordan
Abu-Dayyeh, professor

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Santi Vege, country director

Istituto Studi Mediterranei (ISM)
Università della Svizzera italiana
Annick Tonti, senior advisor


Trevi Events & Arts, London
Onfinance SA, Lugano

Special thanks


Nabil Abu-Dayeh
Royal Scientific Society
Mauro Martinoni