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Amnesty International

Syria's destruction and reconstruction: consolidating power or pursuing recovery?

Series: AA X Amnesty International
Date: Wednesday 8 May 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 94 mins

How the urban sphere has been manipulated by the Syrin regime to suppress the uprising, escalate the conflict, and further consolidate its authoritarian power in the post-conflict phase.
Exploring how destruction and reconstruction processes across the country have been appropriated as part of a systematic strategy to set the ground for a homogenised post-conflict Syria that awards regime cronies and punishes opponents. And exploring how a just and inclusive reconstruction process may be pursued in the current context in areas outside regime control, using housing as an entry point.

Sawsan Abou Zainedin is a Syrian architect and urban development practitioner. Her work tackles the impact of urban processes and reconstruction efforts on social justice and peace. She is the co-founder of Qibaa; a studio established in 2013 in Syria's north to address conflict-related urban challenges through alternative localized practices.  Sawsan holds MSc in Urban Development Planning with distinction from the Bartlett’s Development Planning Unit of University College London, where she researched the role of communities' coping strategies in the pursuit of just and sustainable recovery in Syria.

Hani Fakhani is a Syrian architect and urban practitioner. His work focusses on housing and post-conflict reconstruction in Syria. He holds a MSc with distinction in Building and Urban Design in Development from University College London where he researched the interrelations between reconstruction, governance, and peace in Syria. He is the co-founder of PLUStudios, an architectural design and visualization services firm that has been working on a range of projects including urban regeneration, housing, and public service projects. He co-founded Cube Team Architects, a local firm in Damascus that won national awards for urban development and infrastructure project proposals with Damascus Municipality and Governorate.

Sawsan and Hani have recently co-founded Sakan Housing Communities; a start-up social enterprise  aimed at developing inclusive and socially just housing programmes to aid social, economic, and institutional recovery in Syria.

Caption: Omayad Mosque in Aleppo, Syria
Credit:   © private

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.