嗨 我的名字是马尔瓦 我是一个建筑师
Hi. My name is Marwa, and I’m an architect.
I was born and raised in Homs,
a city in the central western part of Syria,
and I’ve always lived here.
After six years of war,
Homs is now a half-destroyed city.
My family and I were lucky; our place is still standing.
Although for two years, we were like prisoners at home.
外面的示威游行 战争 炸弹和狙击手无处不在
Outside there were demonstrations and battles and bombings and snipers.
My husband and I used to run an architecture studio
in the old town main square.
It’s gone, as is most of the old town itself.
Half of the city’s other neighborhoods
are now rubble.
Since the ceasefire in late 2015,
large parts of Homs have been more or less quiet.
The economy is completely broken, and people are still fighting.
The merchants who had stalls in the old city market
now trade out of sheds on the streets.
Under our apartment, there is a carpenter,
糖果店 肉店 印刷店 小作坊以及更多小商铺
sweetshops, a butcher, a printing house, workshops, among many more.
I have started teaching part-time,
and with my husband, who juggles several jobs,
we’ve opened a small bookshop.
Other people do all sorts of jobs to get by.
When I look at my destroyed city, of course, I ask myself:
What has led to this senseless war?
Syria was largely a place of tolerance,
historically accustomed to variety,
广泛地接纳不同的信仰 血统 风俗
accommodating a wide range of beliefs, origins, customs,
How did my country —
a country with communities living harmoniously together
and comfortable in discussing their differences —
是怎么堕落到内战 变得充斥着暴力 人们流离失所
how did it degenerate into civil war, violence, displacement
and unprecedented sectarian hatred?
There were many reasons that had led to the war —
social, political and economic.
They all have played their role.
But I believe there is one key reason that has been overlooked
and which is important to analyze,
because from it will largely depend
whether we can make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
And that reason is architecture.
Architecture in my country has played an important role
in creating, directing and amplifying conflict between warring factions,
and this is probably true for other countries as well.
There is a sure correspondence between the architecture of a place
and the character of the community that has settled there.
Architecture plays a key role in whether a community crumbles
or comes together.
Syrian society has long lived the coexistence
of different traditions and backgrounds.
Syrians have experienced the prosperity of open trade
and sustainable communities.
They have enjoyed the true meaning of belonging to a place,
and that was reflected in their built environment,
in the mosques and churches built back-to-back,
in the interwoven souks and public venues,
and the proportions and sizes based on principles of humanity and harmony.
This architecture of mixity can still be read in the remains.
The old Islamic city in Syria was built over a multilayered past,
integrating with it and embracing its spirit.
So did its communities.
People lived and worked with each other
in a place that gave them a sense of belonging
and made them feel at home.
They shared a remarkably unified existence.
But over the last century,
gradually this delicate balance of these places has been interfered with;
first, by the urban planners of the colonial period,
when the French went enthusiastically about,
transforming what they saw as the un-modern Syrian cities.
They blew up city streets and relocated monuments.
They called them improvements,
and they were the beginning of a long, slow unraveling.
The traditional urbanism and architecture of our cities
assured identity and belonging not by separation,
but by intertwining.
但随着时间的流逝 这种古老变得一文不值 被新生事物取代
But over time, the ancient became worthless, and the new, covered it
The harmony of the built environment and social environment
got trampled over by elements of modernity —
brutal, unfinished concrete blocks,
neglect, aesthetic devastation,
divisive urbanism that zoned communities by class, creed or affluence.
And the same was happening to the community.
As the shape of the built environment changed,
so the lifestyles and sense of belonging of the communities
also started changing.
From a register of togetherness, of belonging,
architecture became a way of differentiation,
and communities started drifting apart
from the very fabric that used to unite them,
and from the soul of the place that used to represent their common existence.
While many reasons had led to the Syrian war,
we shouldn’t underestimate the way in which,
by contributing to the loss of identity and self-respect,
urban zoning and misguided, inhumane architecture
have nurtured sectarian divisions and hatred.
Over time, the united city has morphed into a city center
with ghettos along its circumference.
And in turn, the coherent communities became distinct social groups,
alienated from each other and alienated from the place.
From my point of view,
losing the sense of belonging to a place
and a sense of sharing it with someone else
has made it a lot easier to destroy.
The clear example can be seen in the informal housing system,
which used to host, before the war, over 40 percent of the population.
是的 战争之前 将近一半的叙利亚人民住在贫民窟
Yes, prior to the war, almost half of the Syrian population lived in slums,
peripheral areas without proper infrastructure,
made of endless rows of bare block boxes
people who mostly belonged to the same group,
基于宗教 阶级 出身或所有以上因素
whether based on religion, class, origin or all of the above.
This ghettoized urbanism proved to be a tangible precursor of war.
Conflict is much easier between pre-categorized areas —
where the “others” live.
The ties that used to bind the city together —
whether they were social, through coherent building,
or economic, through trade in the souk,
or religious, through the coexistent presence —
were all lost in the misguided and visionless modernization of the built environment.
Allow me an aside.
When I read about heterogeneous urbanism in other parts of the world,
involving ethnic neighborhoods in British cities
巴黎周边 和 布鲁塞尔
or around Paris or Brussels,
I recognize the beginning of the kind of instability
we have witnessed so disastrously here in Syria.
We have severely destroyed cities,
像霍姆斯 阿勒颇 德拉以及很多其他城市
such as Homs, Aleppo, Daraa and many others,
and almost half of the population of the country is now displaced.
Hopefully, the war will end,
and the question that, as an architect, I have to ask, is:
How do we rebuild?
What are the principles that we should adopt
in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes?
From my point of view, the main focus should be on creating places
that make their people feel they belong.
Architecture and planning need to recapture
some of the traditional values that did just that,
creating the conditions for coexistence and peace,
values of beauty that don’t exhibit ostentation,
but rather, approachability and ease,
moral values that promote generosity and acceptance,
architecture that is for everyone to enjoy, not just for the elite,
just as used to be in the shadowed alleys of the old Islamic city,
mixed designs that encourage a sense of community.
There is a neighborhood here in Homs that’s called Baba Amr
that has been fully destroyed.
Almost two years ago, I introduced this design
into a UN-Habitat competition for rebuilding it.
The idea was to create an urban fabric inspired by a tree,
capable of growing and spreading organically,
echoing the traditional bridge hanging over the old alleys,
并包含了公寓 私人庭院 店铺
and incorporating apartments, private courtyards, shops,
小作坊 停车场 娱乐和休闲场所 树和遮阳区域
workshops, places for parking and playing and leisure, trees and shaded areas.
It’s far from perfect, obviously.
I drew it during the few hours of electricity we get.
And there are many possible ways to express belonging and community through architecture.
但与之相比 重建Baba Amr城官方项目的提议
But compare it with the freestanding, disconnected blocks
proposed by the official project for rebuilding Baba Amr.
Architecture is not the axis around which all human life rotates,
but it has the power to suggest and even direct human activity.
在这种意义上 移民 民族认同感和社会一体化
In that sense, settlement, identity and social integration
are all the producer and product of effective urbanism.
The coherent urbanism of the old Islamic city
and of many old European towns, for instance,
while rows of soulless housing or tower blocks,
even when they are luxurious,
tend to promote isolation and “otherness.”
城市中 甚至像乘凉的地方 或水果种植或饮水这样简单的事
Even simple things like shaded places or fruit plants or drinking water inside the city
can make a difference in how people feel towards the place,
and whether they consider it a generous place that gives,
a place that’s worth keeping, contributing to,
or whether they see it as an alienating place full of seeds of anger.
In order for a place to give, its architecture should be giving, too.
Our built environment matters.
The fabric of our cities is reflected in the fabric of our souls.
And whether in the shape of informal concrete slums
or broken social housing
or trampled old towns
or forests of skyscrapers,
the contemporary urban archetypes
that have emerged all across the Middle East
have been one cause of the alienation and fragmentation of our communities.
We can learn from this.
We can learn how to rebuild in another way,
how to create an architecture that doesn’t contribute only
to the practical and economic aspects of people’s lives,
but also to their social, spiritual and psychological needs.
Those needs were totally overlooked in the Syrian cities before the war.
We need to create again cities that are shared
by the communities that inhabit them.
If we do so, people will not feel the need
to seek identities opposed to the other identities all around,
because they will all feel at home.
Thank you for listening.
嗨 我的名字是马尔瓦 我是一个建筑师