Like phoenix rising from the ashes

Restoring the community’s integrity and social connectivity through post-conflict reconstruction

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    The objective was to restore the buildings to their original condition using traditional Yemeni construction materials and methods.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    We returned these buildings to the urban landscape and community. As important places of social interaction, they constitute a spiritual reference in local life.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    Most of the stone used in the construction was collected on site from the debris of the edifice minimising waste.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    Master builders and craftspeople from the region played a central role in the reconstruction planning and execution.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    “Culture and architecture are inextricably interrelated” – Salma Samar Damluji

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    Nearly all the stone needed for the reconstruction of the buildings, which took around six months, was salvaged from the rubble – an approach that is as sustainable as it is poetic.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    Materials were produced locally on site and from the immediate surroundings which eliminates energy consumption from processing and transportation.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    In restoring the buildings, nothing foreign was introduced, and no additional footprint was created, except when an expansion was necessary or infrastructure needed upgrading.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    The very thick walls and the low conductivity of mud as a material make the interior of buildings very cool during the day, eliminating the need for a mechanical cooling system.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    Materials were produced locally on site and from the immediate surroundings which eliminates energy consumption from processing and transportation.

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    Post-war Reconstruction in Yemen

    Local builders brought the knowledge and skills needed to reconstruct the structures using traditional building methods and materials – a nod to the cultural heritage of the region, but also an important measure in terms of the sustainability of the architecture.

Yemen is one of the most unstable nations in the world, with various groups fighting for power in since 2013. Iraqi-British architect Salma Samar Damluji and colleagues in Yemen established the Daw’an Mud Brick Architecture Foundation in 2008. The foundation based in Hadramaut Governorate has been working on earth construction and post-war reconstruction projects.

Last updated: June 25, 2022 Al Mukalla, Yemen

As part of the reconstruction project that won a Holcim Awards prize, the architect and her team focused on five Sufi shrines and two mosques. The two domes of Al Habib Hamad bin Saleh in the coastal town of al Shihr were destroyed in 2015. The original buildings date to around 1400. The objective was to restore the buildings to their original condition using traditional Yemeni construction materials and methods.

A20MEsiYE-203_1.JPGArchaeologists and architectural investigators

Since architectural plans didn’t exist before the buildings were destroyed, the architects had to reconstruct the buildings from photographs, historical documents, and the existing remains. Nearly all the stone needed for the reconstruction of the buildings, which took around six months, was salvaged from the rubble – an approach that is as sustainable as it is poetic: The new emerges from the remains of the old, like phoenix rising from the ashes.

Master builders and craftspeople from the region played a central role in the reconstruction planning and execution. They brought the knowledge and skills needed to reconstruct the structures using traditional building methods and materials – a nod to the cultural heritage of the region, but also an important measure in terms of the sustainability of the architecture.

Read the full interview:

“An integral way of thinking” in Sixth Holcim Awards