Syria is witnessing one of the most extreme and complicated conflicts in its modern history. Bombarding and battling has resulted in huge damage to a lot of residential areas, buildings, infrastructure and public facilities. It is estimated that destruction ranges on average between 10-25% of buildings in Syrian areas with higher proportions in particular cities.

Physically intact places have also been affected as new sets of human-space scenarios are emerging on personal and urban levels. More than 2.5 million Syrians fled their homes and over 600,000 registered refugees have fled to neighboring countries, yet the real number of Syrian refugees in these countries is much higher.

How can architects and planners meet all these challenges? What are the needs, and what is the role of societies when dealing with urgent and long-term development?

AUG is seeking for an active discussion of this question. Seen from an AUG perspective, the role of architects and planners in postwar recovery process is a very important debate. The focal point of this discussion are the methods and tools architects can develop to help shaping better conditions in this context; hereunder how to use local techniques and materials that might lead to a sustainable self-development.

How can architects and planners meet all these challenges? What are the needs, and what is the role of societies when dealing with urgent and long-term development?


The project is currently in its second stage. The goal is to have a solid second project proposal before the end of 2014. The team is currently aligning expectations with Engineers Without Boarders, School of Architecture in Copenhagen and their 5×5 program as well as other organisations and individuals who find interest in the second workshop, set to take place in March 2015. The workshop will work on a specific case study that potentially can be brought to practice in in a refugee zone with collaboration and help of organizations that foster and manage refugee camps. The team has limited resources and we welcome funding as well as more participants.


The first workshop was organized in March 2014, with the aim of bringing a deeper understanding of the current situation in Syria as well as identifying and mapping potential local material resources, construction skills and knowledge. The workshop focused on spatial dimensions of the current everyday life in Syria. Group works and discussions took place in Denmark and Syria, where architecture students from the University in Damascus arranged a parallel workshop. The workshop “Pre/Pro/Post Syria” left a great impression on the AUG team of the need to continue and develop the project. It showed the willingness of individuals to participate in effective positive activities regardless of their specialties. In Damascus, participating students and architects demonstrated a great ability to use genuine and creative mechanisms to read the city during conflicts by critical eye. In Denmark, the workshop showed a huge interest in humanitarian architecture and the social role of buildings in the aftermath of a war. Together, the teams identified several scenarios of the current situation in mainly Damascus, with some proposals on future scenarios and strategies. First steps are taken towards arranging a second workshop, which will take place in March 2015. 5×5 (Jørgen Eskemose & Jorge Lobos) and the School of Architecture in Copenhagen are again considered as ideal partners – together witn a.o. Engineers Without Borders Denmark.

GOALS 2015

  • Arrange strategic partnerships
  • Identify and obtain sources of funding
  • Arrange venue for the workshop
  • Create material to promote the workshop
  • Elaborate workshop output
  • Prepare 3rd stage
  • Establish AUG branch in Syria
  • Establish collaboration with ASF Jordan and organisations in other neighbouring countries
  • Establish contact to refugee camps in Turkey or Jordan
  • Develop an agenda and scope of collaboration with each of the mentioned entities


Wesam Asali, Contact person, Per Arnold Andersen, Alan Kadduri,
Caroline de Francqueville


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