the silver lining: a vision to reconstruct post-war syria

the silver lining: a vision to reconstruct post-war syria


currently known as the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, the on-going syrian civil war has not only eroded the nation in its entirety but also defaced its cultural identity. over 11 million people have been displaced in the last five years and 4.8 million refugees have been forced to seek protection in neighbouring countries, resulting in an exodus at a continental scale. what was once a land with a rich history and culture is now a war-torn nation reduced to rubble. in response to the ruined city fabric and architecture, rebecca wennerstrand, mayank thammalla and robert haejun park propose ‘the silver lining’ concept as a radical approach that converts post-war debris into a myriad of raw building material. 

the silver lining reconstructing post-war syria proposal desingboom
damascus, syria: post war site map



the proposed megaform line by wennerstrandthammalla and park establishes a colossal yet sublime presence above the broken city, adjoining the crumbled fabric through extreme horizontality. the idea is to extract the debris into the megastructure 200 meters above ground level, and then deposit them under a series of systematic processes from which the reformed material will be placed back onto ground zero for construction. this procedure is distinct and isolated from the post war wreckage, to accentuate the creation of the new city typology from the old. the novel city will rise above the ruins to recreate the syrian capital: damascus.

the silver lining reconstructing post-war syria proposal desingboom
aerial perspective of the silver lining in operation



the materials used for building construction and the associated solid wastes account for around half of the ones generated worldwide. furthermore, building materials have an environmental impact at every step; extraction of raw materials, processing, manufacturing, transportation, construction and disposal of material at the end of a building’s life. this project recognizes the immense reserves of rubble as a result of the war and attempts to reprocess it into concrete for distribution around the affected areas. current practices involve uncomplicated and well-established crushing techniques which are adopted at a large scale in the proposed megaform.


alongside the debris conversion, the edifice will also begin to re-establish a natural landscape by collecting and distributing water and soil from under its footprint. this secondary function is vital in reconstructing the syrian agricultural industries thus, encouraging a self-sustaining economy. the landscape footprint will gradually increase, creating a public park for daily activities, agriculture and extracting additional building materials.

 the silver lining reconstructing post-war syria proposal desingboom
future use: aiding syria’s agricultural industry



the primary purpose of the megaform will be complete once the convertible material has been depleted and recycled into usable building material for the city. the empty megaform can then be retrofitted to become an extension to the damascus city fabric for various functions that it may be presented with. the large spaces used in converting debris can be adaptively turned into civic spaces, tertiary institutions, religious sanctuaries, accommodation or new work places. becoming a usable and reusable typology allows syria to revitalize and support its future economy and livelihood.

the silver lining reconstructing post-war syria proposal desingboom
scheme + detail process diagrams

the silver lining reconstructing post-war syria proposal desingboom
section | silver lining



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom

  • Dear Urban Design and Architectural studios; Educational Programs (local and international); Researchers; personal capitalisers…etc,
    -I understand the temptation to attach every crappy idea into the growing world of ‘Syria’s Post-war Reconstruction’.
    -I understand the intent to be relevant and to put yourself in line for the future market of ‘reconstruction’ through research and practice– with good or narrow well.
    The problem with this area of ‘work’ – Every Proposal Is Good and Nothing Is Good.
    You work can be easy defined as ‘real’, especially since it consists of a real Viral news element. All the work, I mean all the work, I saw consist of one element – Vulgarity and Fake.
    Your work, even the ones being developed inside Syria, is insensitive to people’s life, history and experience in place. The vulgarity does not emanate from the popularity of your ‘gesture’ and work, but from the decreed of normal people whom lost their memories – you are part of a certain ‘realism’ that flaunts itself upon us and asset itself, as part of ‘Vulgar’.
    Your work limits itself to ‘you’ – as Lefebvre defines Vulgarity – it has no horizons, no resonance, it congratulates itself on its limitations and retreats into them.
    Every single work I came across – from a simple document, a research work, an illustrative work, or a Viral book – is self-satisfied condition of your reflex. Not a mirror of people’s sense of place and memory.
    I write this – feeling disappointed with my Syrian Colleges more than the worldwide ones. Post-war Syria Reconstruction ‘proposals’ that comes with no consideration of the ‘people’, their needs, and their life is a dangerous apologetic of the mass destruction that is taking place, it is part of what makes us forget.
    I am not clamming here that I have answers. Hence, this is problematic which, I am part of this degraded vulgarity now.
    The transformation you are seeking to preterit in your ‘Work’, ends in the reversal of your project. You need to understand the spatial-political existing of affairs, known and acknowledge as such. Must we remind ourselves here that your aim to re-envision must propos a different route, the route of the ones suffering: to take their experience as the starting point, and elucidate it in order to transform it – instead of starting from your conceived self-image in order to impose it on us. But at the same time, without belittling or rejecting creativity. The creativity of reaching out, and be humble enough to understand people’s experiences in place.
    All, or nearly all makes an abstraction of the creative involvement of the suffering people – a social class that is fetishized and despised (an important part that I will expand on later).
    Your work is not part of the task of ‘cleaning up’ or teach.

  • Agreed, this proposal shows a lack of judgment even if it is conceptual. What I find frustrating about this design is that has been posted at all. Highlighting a concept in which the silver lining of having a city destroyed is an aggressively imposed recycling center floating above it detracts from a serious crises that still isn’t over.

  • Reminds me of the movie “District 9”

  • No offence, but this project looks amazingly naive and also not in a good sense.


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