A imposing hillside citadel concealing gardens and galleries, the AM Qattan Foundation, built under occupation, aims to provide an oasis of calm in Ramallah

A dark, grey cube shimmers on a hillside on the edge of Ramallah, standing apart from the confetti of bright white apartment blocks that sprawl across the surrounding slopes. Rising from a series of limestone terraces above a scrubby valley of olive trees, this metallic box is the new $21m (£15.95m) home for the AM Qattan Foundation, an arts centre that its founders hope will stand as a “beacon of culture” in the occupied West Bank.

“It is more than just an arts centre,” says Omar Al-Qattan, the Beirut-born, British-educated chairman of the foundation. “We hope it might be a modest microcosm of urban public life, something that Palestinian cities lack.”

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