Ammar joined the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford in 2019 having previously completed his PhD in architecture at the University of Bath, UK. He was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in late 2018 and is currently an Analyst at Arup, London. Ammar holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Al-Baath University, Homs, Syria where he was the top graduate of the year (Hons, first class). He is a Collective member of CITY journal.
Ammar’s research interests include the destruction and reconstruction of history, culture and the built environment in times of conflict, with a particular focus on the ongoing crisis in Syria since 2011. Bringing together architecture, history, anthropology and urban studies, he focuses on how the city’s destruction and reconstruction can be deliberately used to punish both political opponents and local populations. On the one hand, urbicide – the premeditated destruction of a city – punishes people by erasing their environment, memory and collective identity. On the other hand, the reconstruction of a city can also become part of a collective and individual punishment through promoting human rights violations, new cycles of destruction and displacement, the whitewashing of property relations, and prohibiting certain communities to mourn and grief.
Ammar has published widely in major academic urban studies journals and also in other platforms including newspapers. Ammar has written for the Independent, the Conversation, New Statesman, and LSE Middle East Blog. His work was Shortlisted for Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) President’s Research Awards in 2018 and was exhibited in 2019 at the Imperial War Museum’s exhibition ‘What Remains’ in London. He was interviewed by the BBC, and the ABC, and was invited to speak at different panels including Cheltenham Literature Festival and the V&A. He was also invited to present his research at different universities including Manchester, MIT, Oxford, Essex, Architecture Association, Bath, Southampton, Cambridge and LSE. In September 2019, his conference paper, co-authored with a lecturer based in Syria, was awarded the best international paper by Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) - title: Young Syrian Architects (YSA) at the time of crisis.