Following her dramatic memoir, The Battle for Home, Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni brings us Building for Hope, in which she explores how cities and buildings might be rebuilt in the aftermath of conflict, crisis or financial depression.
This is a rich journey, drawing together several narratives including personal observations of some of the world’s most fascinating cities, from Detroit to Helsinki, from Bristol to Amsterdam; the lessons that Western societies might learn from Islamic culture; and philosophical reflections, drawing on a range of thinkers, on how our personal and communal spaces can provide the basic foundations for happiness. Through this rich tapestry of personal experience, unblinking perspective, and unsettling insight, al-Sabouni offers the reader real-world solutions – and hope – for how the conditions for enduring peace might be created in an increasingly polarizing world.
'An important new book. Writing from one of the most difficult places [Marwa al-Sabouni] not only illuminates our learning about Syria – her home – but about cities around the world. Whether reflecting on the meaning of home or of hope, Marwa is an essential writer for our times'
Andrew Kelly, Director, Bristol Festival of Ideas
'[Offers] a crumb of hope not just for Syria, but for the world, on how to build a better future through inclusive architecture … a powerfully argued analysis of how we in the so-called “developed” world are slowly but surely destroying our societies by selling out our homes, our natural habitats, to big business elites who have no interest in us or our needs'
Diana Darke, Times Literary Supplement
'Ambitious ... It’s especially enlightening to read about Western cities through the lens of an architect specializing in Islamic traditions ... What’s for certain is we need more people – more architects, more writers – like Marwa al-Sabouni: global citizens with a sharp eye for detail and an unwavering, deeply ethical commitment to the places they call home. Building for Hope is dense and daring. Readers will finish with a list of people and places to investigate, as well as with a firm belief that a better future lies in valuing community over ostentation, coherence and decency over luxury, truly liveable cities over places designed purely for profit'