Amnesty International Pavilion
2019 Competition Entry
A Monument to Syria- We will not forget the ancient city of Palmyra, the Umayyad Mosques in both Aleppo and Damascus, Raqqa's Uwais al-Qarni Mosque, and Aleppo's ancient beehive houses. Large parts of Syria have been destroyed or damaged, forcing Syrians away from their homes and leaving this cultural heritage under the threat of destruction. What was once described as the 'Garden of Eden' is now described as 'hell on Earth' by Sheena McKenzi in the CNN article from March 15, 2018 entitled: "How Seven Years of War Turned Syria's cities into 'hell on Earth."
This project attempts to bring light to these lost structures by reinterpreting some of this cultural heritage. Since the issue of 'place' and 'home' is central to this conversation the design learns from the building techniques used in the ancient beehive homes outside of Aleppo. While these were constructed using mud, straw and stone, this is not unlike the combination of timber and mycelium. This new material composite recreates the eco-friendly nature of the traditional composite materials and can be constructed using the simple building techniques from these structures.
The design presents 3 beehive homes with their tops left open to the sky at varied heights. Seemingly incomplete, these represent the war-torn state of Syria which has been left largely in ruins. The homes are intersected in order to create an immersive and experiential space that can facilitate conversations that bring further awareness of and reflection on the plight of the Syrian refugees. It invites visitors to witness the daily evolution of light within the space, feel the edges of the bricks and the change in temperature, hear the sounds funnel in through the varied oculis and be taken to a place that is momentarily detached from normal London life.
Architectural Association School of Architecture, Amnesty International