Sketch for Syria, a project initiated by by Marco Ballarin and Jacopo Galli at IUAV, Venice, has brought together 150 architects from 26 nations in a large-scale effort to "imagine, trace and share possible scenarios" for Syria, following the recent devastation of the lives of its citizens and a significant amount of its architectural heritage.
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Born between the Tigris and the Euphrates, ancient Mesopotamia, "the land between two rivers," is considered the cradle of human civilization or, at least, one of its main birthplaces. Archaeological discoveries place in this fertile crescent the earliest origins of agriculture, the birth of writing and the first religions, governments and social orders.
Over the past two years alone, more than a million people have fled the Syrian conflict to take refuge in Europe, strenuously testing the continent’s ability to respond to a large-scale humanitarian crisis. With the Syrian Refugee Crisis still unresolved, and temporary refugee camps now firmly established on the frontiers of Europe, architects and designers are devoting energy to improving the living conditions of those in camps fleeing war and persecution.
With the Jarahieh Refugee School, CatalyticAction Demonstrates the True Potential Of Temporary Structures
The 2015 Milan Expo required the input of more than 145 countries and 50 international organizations resulting in over 70 temporary pavilions; a combined effort totaling more than €13 billion. Norman Foster’s rippling pavilion for the United Arab Emirates ended up at €60 million. The massive slab of concrete, laid out over the previously green agricultural land to act as the Expo’s foundation cost a whopping €224 million. Even Vietnam’s “low cost” pavilion came in at $2.09 million.
Jordanian artist Raya Kassisieh, with the support of American firm NADAAA, has repurposed her exhibit from the Amman Design Week in Jordan to create blankets for Syrian refugees and Jordanian families. The Entrelac exhibit, created by Kassisieh and NADAAA, consists of 300kg of hand-knit, un-dyed wool which was later cut and stitched to create blankets for those fleeing the Syrian Civil War, now approaching its sixth year.
The Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative has organized a collection of essays, entitled The Destruction of Cultural Heritage: From Napoléon to ISIS, which examines several centuries of the demolition of monuments in the Middle East. With world events like ISIS and the protection of architectural heritage growing to be more and more topical, this collection is a useful tool in considering the role of violence, how ancient architecture is perceived as a cultural entity, what role the media has to play, and beyond.
Swedish mega-retailer IKEA is taking action to combat the destitute living conditions faced by Syrian refugees.
A year after the ancient city of Palmyra, Syria was destroyed by the Islamic State, a 3D-printed recreation of one of its most iconic structures has begun its world tour. Originally erected in London’s Trafalgar square in April, on Monday, the replica of Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph was unveiled in its new location outside city hall in New York City.
In 2014, Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni won the Syria category of the UN Habitat Mass Housing Competition for a housing scheme she developed for the city of Homs, her hometown. Now over two years later, Thames and Hudson has published her book Battle for Home: The Vision of a Young Architect in Syria. Throughout all of these events, al-Sabouni has remained in Syria. As the Guardian puts it: “As bombs fell around her, Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni stayed in Homs throughout the civil war, making plans to build hope from carnage.”
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