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