Ms al-Sabouni stayed through the chaos of the civil war in Syria with her husband and two children.
She wrote her memoir, The Battle for Home, across the street from the frontlines in an apartment she shared with her husband and two children.
Ms al-Sabouni believes the very architecture of Syria influenced the eruption of sectarian violence that has plagued the country for the past six years.
“In that way I think that architecture has a tremendous role to play in building peace or leading to war … architecture can break communities apart,” she said.
“You can sense how people related to their old beautiful structures and alleyways and marketplaces.
“The history of our country [is] that when foreign powers step in and start to categorise people, [they] divided people into these communities.”
Ms al-Sabouni hopes the rebuilding of Syria will foster a renewed sense of community in public space.
“I think the solutions lie in empowering local crafts and communities and bringing back and recapturing some of the essence of the old [architecture],” she said.
“There are ways and there are people who are using those techniques but you need to have the will.
“If we could take a case study of life in the Old Town. It wasn’t an Indigenous style, like a village, but it was something that was very sensitive to the urban context and local communities.” […]