Architecture | The Common Ground

Memory is an international architecture competition that urged participants to develop an architectural proposal that spoke for Syria’s people on ground. It was based on the following objectives, A. Creating a memory infused architecture with a B. Function by the C. Citizens of the place in one of the damaged yet D. Important site of Syria.  It is an endeavor that challenged designers to use architecture as a common ground to re-negotiate for the people it belongs.

Architecture | The Common Ground

The 7 year war has reshaped the cultural and built landscape of Syria, where not only it has lost its heritage but overall public life as well. While there are so many objectives to cover, the solution demanded ideas that weaved through its needs and aspirations of Aleppo as a place and Syria as a country. Apart from winners, Memory hosted our first ever institutional access entrants from Faculty of Architecture, Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). We congratulate them and our winners for their phenomenal ideas submitted in this competition.

The jury for the competition consisted of esteemed designers, professionals and academicians from around the world. The Lead Jurors for the competitions were as follows:

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Yousaf Oqleh, Board Member Architect and Urban Design, Architects for Society, Dubai. Kourosh Hajizadeh, Principal Architect, Hajizadeh & AssociatesMohamed Al Assam, Founder and Executive Chairman, Dewan Architects + EngineersArash G Tehrani, Principal & Lead Architect, Arash G Tehrani Design Studio, Alborz , Gijo Paul George, Co-Founder, Studio Toggle,
Here are the best of competition projects as follows:


By Hamed Behkam, Erfan Deryakenari, Hila Khatat, NIloufar Farajian 


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Description | Architecture has the power of empowering people in their cities, their lives and relations. Architecture is not for the past , it is for the Future. In this project we try to create the participation spaces for people to use. We inspiring existing layers on the site to memorable space and times. A Grand Arc of Aleppo is refer to the past and is for the Future.

Jury Comments | “Paying attention to the context and creating a common language with the environment.Very interesting usage of a virtual space to display the emotions and atmosphere of war and expressing the memories of the past by creating a big arch.Clarity and weightlessness in a huge element.Not blocking the view of the citadel by creating lines in two different layers on the project.Very strong presentation and clear display of explanatory ideograms and diagrams of the project” – Kourosh Hajizadeh

“A successful project is the one with good and fresh ideas, proper design process, successful product, and good presentation; and in my opinion, it should surely respond to the competition’s question, and answer to the context, society, and culture. This project had almost all the elements. A good memory for Aleppo, exciting space and atmosphere, interesting concepts, clear ideograms, and suitable presentation. Obviously, the construction plan might have been a concern if the competition asked us a construction grant, but still a successful and memorable proposal.”   Arash G Tehrani



By Ania Otlik, Artur Nitribitt

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Description | The word paradise comes from Proto-Iranian Paradaijah, meaning walled enclosure. Project proposes to erect a wall from ruins of devastated Aleppo, to invite water and plants inside, as a metaphor of revival and realm of peace. Meanwhile the modern reinterpretation of traditional arches stimulates public life and offers a place to play, trade and meet.

Jury Comments | “ Humility and balance versus the citadel and the city.Creating a warm public space and a hub for the city.Usage of a suitable greenspace for the context and creating a warm and central space in accordance to the architecture of this region. Utilizing a suitable material like concrete for creating soft forms relevant to the presented ideas.Extremely strong presentation with appropriate ideograms and diagrams for the design process.“ – Kourosh Hajizadeh

“I think this team understood the atmosphere of the context pretty well and had a good sense of space, maybe a good mixture of an ancient Persian concept with the actual feel of Arabic architecture. And the final design is a suitable atmosphere for Aleppo which I’d like to experience in reality. My only criticism was the lack of functional spaces and services; because I strongly believe that these are the functional spaces which kept the well-known plazas like Prague’s Old Town Square, Isfahan’s Naghsh-e Jahan, Venice’s San Marco, and the others alive after centuries.” – Arash G Tehrani

Honourable Mention  THE NON MEMORIAL

By: Mohamed El-kurdi

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Description: This project aims to transcend traumatic memory imposed in the physical monumental space, by creating a space for social reconciliation through storytelling. Embracing the scars of war and subtly subverting these memories of war into beams of hope.

Jury Comments: I liked the idea of keeping the ruins, using the recycled material for the renovations and constructions, and also the participation of people over the years. This project had good ideas, a suitable answer, and clear ideograms, but I actually expected better presentations and more functional spaces. – Arash G Tehrani


By Michal Al-Hussein

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Description: A place to escape from reality, not just a building, it is the main square, a public space, a place to gather,  a place far away from all the political and religious issues where everyone finds a place for themselves in it.

Jury Comments : “I think that was a strong project, with great pre-studies, useful infographics, and most importantly, a proper and strong answer to the question. They have a functional plaza with a great view of the citadel, an environment-friendly roof with a beautiful atmosphere, and lovely below spaces full of suitable functions which are well described in the sections. A Strong project with almost everything that this project demanded or needed. Only if I were them, I would have chosen a different cover photo; maybe a more inviting, describing or even an eye-catching one.” – Arash G Tehrani


By Mariam Dandachi, Shantal Ayoub, Maysa SarieddineTeam212019 06 13t11 21 000006Team212019 06 13t11 22 000006

Description: Through the complete removal of the Grand Serail, the reprogramming of the Justice Palace, and the implementation of the Placemaking theory, the space at the foot of the citadel becomes a place of memorialization of heritage, of celebration and honor for the lost souls during the war, and a place for everyday rituals and activities to occur.

Jury Comments: “Again another project with almost complete steps. A nice idea, practical attempt, and beautiful use of layers of concepts, which together answers to our problem. If I have to criticize, I would only concern about two things: first one the lack of the context-based atmosphere, and showing few and not so powerful human’s eye angel perspectives or renders.” – Arash G Tehrani

Honourable Mention | CO-EXISTENCE 

By Abdallah Kouatly, Firouz Firouz, Maryam Masoudi, Farnoush Poursafavi

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Description: Our project proposes the reshaping of one of the important sites of the city center of Aleppo into a plaza that re-gathers people for social and cultural interactions. The design concept is to create an urban void that shapes a transitional space where visitors can experience the continuity of time, from the past into the future.

Jury Comments : “It was one of my favorite projects in this competition, and the reason is the strong dedication to the atmosphere, context, and also the people and culture, with good concepts. Maybe one of the few projects to really creating a Memory, and Regathering Syria among all entries, which were the main challenges of this competition. The main renders quickly made me remember the site of Al-Sultaniyeh Mosque, a lost neighbor of our site before destruction. Besides strong concepts and ideas, and practical design; this project also has powerful presentations, understandable renders, and complete drawings. The other factors which I’d like about this project are the minimal spaces with strong context-based essence, being practical and easily constructed, recreating the memory of Aleppo, functional services, and also the human’s eye perspective from the citadel and to the citadel.” – Arash G Tehrani


Institutional Excellence WinnerOASIS OF CULTURE

By Imre Parocai, Laura Penzes, Gellert Barkanyi, Zsofia Garami
Supervising Professor Zsolt Vasáros DLA

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Description: What is an oasis? According to the dictionary it means ?a pleasant or peaceful area or period in the midst of a difficult or hectic place or situation?. We build up our design concept around this oasis theme. We want to create a place where the local people can find peace and happiness in their present chaotic everyday life.


Institutional Excellence Winner | GATE BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE

By Judit Bielik, Laura Penzes, Vivien Bettina Tamas
Supervising Professor : Zsolt Vasáros DLA

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Description: What is an oasis? According to the dictionary it means ?a pleasant or peaceful area or period in the midst of a difficult or hectic place or situation?. We build up our design concept around this oasis theme. We want to create a place where the local people can find peace and happiness in their present chaotic everyday life.

Discover the full results here:

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