Building for Hope: Towards an Architecture of Belonging

Eleni Spiliotes
Tuesday 3 January 2023

al-Sabouni, Marwa. London: Thames and Hudson, 2021.

Building for Hope is Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni’s sequel to The Battle for Home, which examines how architecture and urban planning lead to the civil war and urbicide in Syria. In this book, al-Sabouni turns her attention towards the challenges and possibilities of reconstruction and how architecture can foster sustainable, inclusive, and organic urban spaces. The book weaves together personal anecdotes and observations with analyses of the relationship between architecture and its inhabitants from historical, philosophical, and psychological perspectives. The book’s most profound argument is that place alienation is not only an experience of urbicide victims, but also a symptom of the fundamental disconnect between form and function in the design of contemporary cities universally. Using this argument as her foundation, al-Sabouni approaches the concept of home from the perspective of human vulnerability, structuring the book according to the five fears she believes all humans share, which are death, need, treachery, loneliness, and boredom. By exploring the way that these fears manifest themselves in the built environment, al-Sabouni aims to reveal how architectural responses can promote peace.


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