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The Battle for Home

The Memoir of a Syrian Architect

Marwa Al-Sabouni


A gripping account of living and working in a ravaged Syria, and the role architecture plays in whether a community crumbles or comes together

Also available as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon


What caused the war in Syria? How did a once beautiful country turn from its tolerant past, with churches and mosques built side by side, to its current state of violence and displacement?

This is the eyewitness account of Marwa al-Sabouni, a young architect based in war-torn Homs. Revealing the country's bitter conflict through the lens of architecture and writing with clarity, conviction and deep intelligence, she shares her personal experience of how the built environment directly affects the community that inhabits it, how the stage for civil war has long been set in her country, and how architecture might play a role in reversing the damage.

This compelling and timely book reveals uncomfortable truths and asks important questions. Ultimately, the author offers hope, as she provides insights into ways of rebuilding a proud country and a much-needed sense of identity.

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'An angry and personal memoir'
Daily Telegraph

'Marwa al-Sabouni writes with clarity and conviction'
The Times

'An understated gem of a book … gripping'
The Spectator

'The moving record of one person’s effort to stay loyal to her homeland, at a time of great suffering and personal distress. It tells a painful and tragic story. But it is also the expression of a beautiful soul, who comes to us out of a confused and dreadful battle with a message of hope'
Roger Scruton

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 23.4 x 15.6 cm

Extent: 184 pp

Illustrations: 32

Publication date: 18 April 2016

ISBN: 9780500343173

Contents List

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

About the Author

Marwa al-Sabouni has a PhD in Islamic Architecture and runs a private architectural studio in Homs, Syria. She is co-owner of the first and only online media site dedicated to architectural news in Arabic:

List of Contributors

Roger Scruton