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Project of a "building school" in Taybeh
Site of El Khader

Contact :
Atelier saint Jean des Quatre Couronnés - Anjou
145 bis, rue Eblé 49 000 Angers - France
02. 41. 82. 72. 88 (Dominique Hanquart)

With the support of:
  The french consulate in Jerusalem
  The french biblical and archeological school
  "L'Oeuvre d'Orient" of Belgium
  The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  The Association of stone cutters.


  I.   Introduction
II.  A request of the village
III. Concept of a "Building school"
IV.  Preparation of the Building
V.   Stages of the Building
VI.  Short-run actions to lead

I- Introduction

Going all over Palestinian towns and villages, we can see everywhere the marks of stone cutters. On houses, religious building, since a thousand year, those craftsmen's work has left its mark on the big era of the Middle East architecture.

This very rich heritage which is the expression of the country identity is waiting for some skilled workers.

Taybeh is a small town of the West Bank perched on an olive tree lined hill, dominating the Judaea desert. It is situated thirty kilometers North-East of Jerusalem.

The site of El khader where excavations are now being carried out has a strong archeological interest.

This place of worship is full of memory. The people who live there are very proud of it. This is also a wonderful teaching aid for the acquisition of usefull jobs for the restoration of the heritage.

The project of a school building in the site of El Khader is an answer to a suggestion made by Jean- baptiste Humbert from the biblical and archeological school of Jerusalem and it was then confirmed by Michèle Piccirilo from the studium biblicum franscicanum.Those two institutions told us about their real need of labour to work with them on the two sites.

Furthermore, the department of the Palestinian antiquities makes an inventory of the archeological heritage, excavate, and restore buildings for which it is a matter of urgency to save.

Therefore in the next years, Palestine will need a skilled labour for the restoration of archeological sites and old buildings.

First thing, stone is widely used for building. It is mainly used for products of second work and also for facing.

The stone cut requires technical knowledges, artistical feeling, manual deftness, and so the stone cutters need an adapted and qualified training.

This is the aim of the building school on the archeological site of El Khader. It could be influential all over Palestine and beyond, in the other countries of the Middle East.

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II- A request of the village

In 1997, the mayor of Taybeh Fuad Tayé, Yussef Rizeq, Latin Parish priest, Jack Abed, Melkite Parish priest, and Jean Loup Hanquart, stone cutter, started to think about creating a building school and they came to the following points:

 - The wish of developing the site of El Khader
 - There is a high number of unemployed young people in this area, for whom exile is the only way to escape from a desperate situation.
 - Even if Palestinians mainly use stone, they are losing their traditional expertise of it.

In 2000, the work study started by a program of archeological excavation.

Today, the new town council, represented by Daoud Khoury, in agreement with the current clergy, follows the same actions and asks us to help them for the project of a building school for a large scale restoration of the archeological site of El Khader.

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III- The concept of a "building school"

Managerial staff :

The town council of Taybeh will be in charge of the building.
The association "Atelier St Jean des quatre couronnés" will be in charge of the technical management, of the recruitment of students and of the training programme of the school building.
The association has already vast experience in this sort of training in France.
The French schools are very competent in restoring historic buildings, therefore this type of partnership will allow an enrichment of the Palestinian expertise.

Original teaching skills for a vocational training leadind to a qualification.

A building school allows to join together the theorical education (art history, technology, technical drawings, meter reading, cut, ornamentation) to the reality of a building site.

The aim is to train 10 to 15 students each year in a yearly period of 1859 hours.The school building on the site of El Khader allows the acquisition of all the necessary technics to the full training of a stone cutter.

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IV- The Preparation of the building

Such a building requires some particular substructure.

- Classroom
- Line classroom
- The workshop of stone cut and turnover
- Buying / supplying building material
- Appropriate building equipment

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V- Stages of building

Common methodology for all different types of building

- Layout and notebook
- Giving of the elements wich need to be consolidated
- Working drawing, debit and cut
- Set up
- Building of scaffolding
- Lay and last coating

Groups Pedagogical progression
Group 1

Crossed narthex
 - Apprenticeship of layout
 - Cutting of a cube
 - Cutting of outline and curb
 - Moulding and ornamentation
 - Cutting of simple arch
 - Cutting of a hip-rafter vaulting in broken arch
Group 2

South Chapel
 - Cutting of a spherical vault
 - Stonework of a hip-rafter in vaulting in rubble stone
 - Lay of a double arch
 - Thin cut of liturgical furniture (altar....)
 - Claustral windows
Group 3

Main church
 - Cutting and layout of a dome on a pendentive

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VI- Short-run actions to lead

Association "atelier St Jean des 4 couronnés-Anjou" :

 - Going through with El Khader projects
 - Writing and edition of an explanatory , detailed and figured faceplate in order to inform about the project and to search financing.

Town council of Taybeh

 - Administrative request to the concerned ministries : Tourism and education Ministries.

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