Dr Ammar Azzouz

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Fellow, Somerville College, Oxford

Academic Profile

Ammar Azzouz is a Research Fellow at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. He is the Principal Investigator of Slow Violence and the City, a research project that examines the impact of violence on the built environment at the time of war and peace. He is also a Research Fellow at Somerville College at the university.

Azzouz studied architecture in the city of Homs, Syria, where he was born and raised. Since the start of the Syrian Revolution, over half of the neighbourhoods of Homs has been destroyed. In 2011, he moved to the UK to complete his postgraduate studies and received his PhD from the University of Bath. He has never been able to return to Homs since.

Azzouz has earned a wide recognition as a researcher, academic, architect and writer. His research on inclusive and diverse cities, queering public space, cultural heritage, architecture and war, reconstruction and forced migration has been featured in different platforms such as the New York Times, The Conversation, The New Statesman, New Lines Magazine, Middle East Eye, and also in academic journals such as Antipode, CITY, Change Over Time, Urban Studies and International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Azzouz's first book, Domicide: Architecture, War and the Destruction of Home in Syria (Bloomsbury, 2023), offers fresh insights into the role of the architects during time of war. It explores how architecture is contested and weaponised during years of conflicts, and how the future reconstruction of cities should mirror the wants and needs of local communities. The book has a foreword, by Lyse Doucet, the BBC's Chief International Correspondent.

Before moving to academia, Azzouz worked in the private sector, at Arup. There, he has established and led several research projects on themes related to forced migration, destruction of cities and cultural heritage. One of his projects included interviews with displaced people impacted by wars, and also academics researching wars and cities at different times in history and in different geographies (e.g. Spain, Poland, Bosnia and Syria).

Cities don't lie: On reconstruction and rebuilding

Questions of Memory and War

Current Research

Building on his past research, Azzouz is currently examining the histories of wars and cities with a particular focus on Homs, Syria, and the ways in which displaced communities build new lives in exile, with a focus on Syrian diaspora in the UK. The research has two main aims. First, to understand the impact of violence in Homs on the everyday life of people who remain in the city (a violence that is slow moving and long in the making, beyond the moment of destruction). Second, to engage with Syrian diaspora who are building a new sense of home in their exile. He is also interested in writing a new book that looks at the contestation of cities across different parts of the world.

Selected Publications

Domicide: Architecture, War and the Destruction of Home in Syria
Azzouz, A. (2023)
Domicide: Architecture, War and the Destruction of Home in Syria