Architecture / Residential
Competition, 2016
Matter Better LLP
A:I Project Team
Dennis Lee, Sanna Lee

We must understand the Syria conflict is not merely a civil war between rebel groups and Basher al-Assad’s regime, but a global crisis where world powers and countries take political positions, provide military support and weapons, and face with the largest refugees displacement since World War II.As much as international community had been taking part before and during the Syrian conflict, we firmly believe they also need to play critical roles in rebuilding post-war Syria. The reason is beyond being charitable or humanitarian. Instead, stabilizing Western Asia and Middle East benefits all democratic and unitary republic countries alike in the development of global economies, trades, infrastructure, and in preservation of cultural diversity, religious freedom, and world peace. In sharp contrast to conventional international coalitions which are often destructive in nature, our proposal is a design in both software and hardware and calls for a CONSTRUCTIVE COALITION which is a methodology to create housing prototypes to execute the monumental task of rebuilding Syria homes.

CONSTRUCTIVE COALITION approaches the housing problems top-down and bottom-up simultaneously. We need strong geopolitical and financial backing as much as grassroots support. On the one hand we lobby United Nations, governments, NGOs, and philanthropists; on the other we count on individual contributions in large or small amounts. Contributions may come in many forms from policy making to monetary commitment to material supplies and fabrication.

The war-torn Syria would face tremendous manufacturing and construction challenges, CONSTRUCTIVE COALITION brings together the resourceful, environmentally responsible, rapidly renewable, recycled, or abundance materials the participating countries committed and have standard panels and structural members prefabricated and shipped to Syria for assembly. No contributions from any strong manufacturing countries would be taken for granted, as we need quality materials and workmanship to create durable homes that last for years. No contribution from any individuals would go unnoticed either, as every set of panels contributed means one more family having a home. Organizations and individuals can make contributions by taking full advantage of nowadays internet connectivity and the power of crowdsourcing. Such arrangement would not only attempt to maximize the targeted number of units, also streamline production time and minimize in-situ construction works, as we understand the new housing typology needs to be produced and assembled in mass numbers rapidly.

On the design of unit, every 18 universal panels would enclose a habitable module which could be bedrooms, living/ dining room, or toilet/ kitchen combo. Despite the generic form, each module can enjoy private or shared open spaces following a courtyard organizational growth. Because the modules are stackable and flexible to combine with one another, multiple modules would form homes for families small or large, and fully expandable to create neighborhoods, communities, or villages while adaptable to different site geometry, city blocks, landscape, and terrain. As the number of homes grows, so should the modules designated for public infrastructure, common facilities, and communal courtyards as familiarized in traditional Syrian residential clusters.

Units made of different materials appropriate for unique climatic conditions can be shipped to various governorates in Syria for the dryer desert climate near Eastern border or the warmer Mediterranean climate near West coast. Leading countries in environmentally responsible design, innovation, and materials production can offer their specialized resources and expertise, for example structural insulated panels from Canada, high efficiency solar panels from China, smart metering and gypsum from the US, or sustainable timber from Switzerland. Once a country torn apart by Assad’s government, ISIS, and rebel forces, CONSTRUCTIVE COALITION would knit a new map of international collaboration and contributions for the benefits of the Syrian people.