What is the role of the architect during the time of war?
As an architect, aspiring scholar and citizen, I seek knowledge that is eloquent, critical, and dutifully applied. Such knowledge can transform landscapes and beings that encounter it. As it has for centuries, and acquiring multiple forms, such knowledge remains present in Syria today.
Whilst contemporary conditions appear dire, people have not lost hope. In Syria an empowering resistance originates within the everyday of those who dare to diligently think and act differently. It is amongst these brave men and women that we have located our collaborators. Amongst other forms, our alliance is given material expression in a series of humble rural and semi-rural architectures.
Sigil’s projects stem from a firm conviction that architecture can perform a transmutational role that can transcend the oft-unquestioned distinctions between building and monument. As such, these are political projects that attempt to forge new ways of building in accordance with the circumstances of the context today.
About Khaled Malas:
Khaled Malas is an architect from Damascus and a co-founder of the Sigil Collective. He is also a PhD candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. During the Summer of 2017, Khaled has been leading the Second Janet Abu-Lughod Seminar in Amman on Qusayr ‘Amra.
Sigil are an Arab collective based in Beirut and New York City. They seek to explore the simultaneously marvelous and terrifying metamorphoses of the Arab landscape that is the stake and site of historical and contemporary struggles. Since 2014 they have been engaged in building rural architectures of resistance in Syria including water-wells and electricity-generating windmills.