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The Battle for Home: Memoir of a Syrian Architect

Monday 16/April/2018 - 10:47 AM
Sada El Balad
Edited by: Yara Sameh

Drawing on the author’s personal experience of living and working as an architect in Syria، this book offers an eyewitness perspective on the country’s bitter conflict through the lens of architecture، showing how the built environment offers a mirror to the community that inhabits it. Marwa al-Sabouni chronicles the breakdown of social cohesion in Syria’s cities، exploring how the lack of shared public spaces has intensified divisions within the community، and how corrupt officials have interfered in town planning for their own gain – actions symptomatic of wider abuses of power. With first-hand accounts of mortar attacks and stories of refugees struggling to find a home، this compelling and original book explores the personal impact of the conflict and offers hope for how architecture can play a role in rebuilding a sense of identity within a damaged society.

An architectural memoir about the devastating civil war raging in Syria for the past six years، The Battle for Home argues passionately for architecture's pivotal role in shaping social realities. Marwa al-Sabouni، a young and ambitious architect still defiantly living in her severely destroyed city of Homs with her husband and two children، uses her own autobiography and architectural sensibility to tell a selective history of her native city، and of Syria more generally، down to the excruciating present. The book is divided into six chapters، each cast as a battle with one of several facets of what is in the end the same enemy: predatory change motivated by greed، bad taste، and misguided Modernism. --.

Table of Contents
1. The Battle of Freedom • 2. The Battle of Old Homs • 3. The Battle of Mortar • 4. The Battle of Baba Amr • 5. The Battle of Finding a Home • 6. The Battle of Continuation

Paperback: 192 pages
Author: Marwa al-Sabouni
Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd; Reprint edition (6 July 2017)
Language: English
Dimensions: 13.2 x 2 x 19.8 cm

About the Author
Marwa al-Sabouni has a PhD in Islamic architecture and runs a private architectural studio in Homs، Syria. She has written for Architectural Review and Wall Street International. She is co-owner of the first and only online media site dedicated to architectural news in Arabic، Arch News.

Editorial Reviews
Starts just as a personal insight into Syria's conflict، expressed in English prose of originality and power--Arab Weekly

Al-Sabouni's incisive memoir، enhanced by her empathetic sketches، speaks with that particular mix of solicitude and sharp criticism born of true belong married to broadness of perspectives. --Art Review Asia

An angry and personal memoir traces the defilement even before the civil war، back to the Assad dynasty's use of aggressive development as a means to social control--Daily Telegraph

She depicts a population subsisting against a symphony of bombs- "every roaring sound، every stench of burning"- all the while questioning how corruption، cronyism and thick-headed bureaucracy، which has been embedded in Syrian society long before the war، helped to fan the flames --Sunday Times (Ireland)

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