Laodicea Eco Tower, Latakia

The journey of ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ has been fascinating and a knowledge-building exercise meeting hundreds of creative individuals from the fields of architecture, engineering and interior design. Each individual has added priceless knowledge and depth to my experience and helped me to grow further in the quest towards excellence and uniting the world. I wish to thank each one of you for teaching me so many things about the fields and life.

From Dublin in Ireland, the GEN Z Series travels to Latakia, the principal port city of Syria to meet a 2021 graduated Syrian architect Leen Faris from the Tishreen University, Syria. She is currently working as an Architect at Architecture Consulting Office in Latakia. Latakia, located on the Mediterranean coast has also been popularly known as Laodicea or Laodicea ad Mare in Syria. Apart from being the port city, Latakia is one of the significant manufacturing centres for surrounding towns and villages.


Leen Faris comes across as a warm individual and eager to express her journey in the field of architecture. She reveals, “I was born in Jableh, Syria – a small coastal city situated on the Mediterranean Sea. My mom works as a Teacher. My ‎father is a Civil engineer.  I am the youngest of three children, with one brother and one sister. We used to take summer trips to visit Syrian ruins and nature in Damascus, Homs and Halab every year. Since my early childhood, I participated in multiple art competitions in school. Art as my passion developed my creativity as I was growing up. My parents always encouraged me to excel in my pursuit. I am so happy to pursue architecture as a profession (smiles).”

A passionate and creative talent, Leen Faris has put a great deal to excel in her educational pursuit to gain insight into the realities of architecture and comprehend its challenges. She enthuses, “After successfully passing the national architecture exam, I began my career as an intern architect. I am always striving to work on different types of projects to expand my knowledge and hope to use the experience to make a difference in my society and a positive change to architecture that meets human needs. Designing diverse visual graphics and discovering new alterations of art are something that I enjoy and am passionate about.”

Site Plan

Johnny D talks to Leen Faris to explore her quest in the architecture world and her interesting thesis ‘Laodicea Eco Tower, Latakia’.

What was your childhood ambition? Did you always wanted to become an architect?

I have always enjoyed painting and creating hand-made designs, but I never considered ‎becoming an architect until later‎. The strong support of my parents, who were very happy to see me ‎cultivate my artistic abilities and driven by my passion for ‎learning and improving ‎people’s ‎lives, I decided to ‎‎‎‎study architecture. I realized its role in ‎organizing our daily lives infrastructure, which affects our thoughts and well-being.‎

Architectural Analysis

How has architecture influenced your life as a student?

Studying architecture was a wonderful experience that introduced me to this creative, ‎‏yet ‎‎life changing ‎field. It had a great influence on my personality. I was inspired, when I noticed its extensive impact on humanity. I had begun to observe the buildings around me, pay attention to the layout of the city, parks, etc., while acknowledging the significant impact that every decision an architect makes has on society. I felt strong determination and persistence to apply my knowledge to enhance the current architectural reality.

Plan – Ground Floor

Briefly tell us about your University and the Course

Tishreen University in Latakia is the third largest university in Syria. It is a multi-disciplinary university that offers Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees. It has a distinguished educational staff with extensive global experience and I am grateful to have learned from them.

Briefly describe the significance of your project with the ‘Title of the Project and Site Location’.

‘Laodicea Eco Tower’ is a commercial residential project and aims to be a distinctive landmark in the urban landscape of Latakia, spreading the culture of sustainability and preserve Syria as a green healthy country.

The mission of the building emphasize on users’ experience aspect to become a vibrant active place, where social interactions are encouraged to form a sense of community while engaging nature and city landscapes within the internal space.

Architectural Plans Analysis

As climate changes, there is a need for more adaptive structures. This design proficiently uses the land and equipped with environmental techniques to save energy, like solar panels, water collection systems, along with:

– Green roofs help regulating temperature and reducing noise and pollution.

– Double glazed façades allow natural ventilation and sunlight.

– Local materials including wood, brick, glass and ceramic cladding, to format the building’s outer shell.

– Protrusions cast shade and create air currents due to different air-pressure.

Plan – First Floor

It is a highly efficient structure providing workplace, shopping, entertainment, living facilities for its inhabitants and responds to human requirements including privacy, spatial allocation and public amenities. It includes:

– Shopping center on ground, first and second floors, involves variant shops, restaurants and cafes.

– Offices on third, fourth and fifth floors.

-Technical floor.

– Residential tower involves various-size apartments and multiple shared spaces.

– Three basements provide the building’s services (water tank, electricity, heating and air conditioning halls, warehouses) and parking spaces.

– The last roof is an interactive shared space, includes roof gardens, water storage, and solar collectors.


Which National or International architect has inspired / influenced you? Please specify as to why?

I admire the philosophy of the Architect Frank Lloyd Wright for realizing the beauty and proficiency of engaging nature and human design in his work. Also, Renzo Piano and Tadao Ando’s extraordinary approaches continue to inspire me. I believe that aesthetics lies in simplicity and clear, explicit, understandable forms of man.

Plan – Office Floor

As an Intern, what is the most important lesson(s) you have learned from senior architects, while being a part of a project?

Participating in actual projects with senior engineers taught me how to combine art and efficient design with implementations of specific building laws in the city. I also learned to deal with challenges that we encounter while designing, licensing and implementation on the ground. I gained many valuable skills such as trusting in myself, presenting ideas apparently, besides working with diverse clients and recognizing their desires and requests has formed a practical concept of their aspired architectural priorities and their perception of design, function, aesthetic in their different facilities.

Office Interior

What role do you perform as an Architect at Architecture Consulting Office, Latakia?

I am part of multi-functional team (Architects, Civil and Technical Engineers) that collaborates throughout all the phases of the project. From creating site plans, estimating building areas, designing, creating technical drawings, acquiring building permits and supervising construction sites. Additionally, I am accountable for the design’s technical drawings, graphics and 3D modeling.

It was very satisfying to be able to help my society after the tragic earthquake of ‎6th February that caused huge damage to our country’s infrastructure and took many lives. We participated actively in the engineering committees of ‘The Syndicate of Syrian Engineers’ and the international organizations in assessing and documenting the damage caused by the earthquake, as well as reassuring people.

Perspective View of Laodicea Eco Tower

Hostile architecture is an eyesore and fast changing the urban landscape of prominent cities around the world. Architecture is meant to benefit the people / users at large, but the effects of hostile architecture are targeting people and depicting wickedness of the society and is against the ethos of architecture field. Elucidate your perspective about this unwanted trend in urban landscape.

Hostile Architecture in Jableh, Syria

I believe that architecture was found to serve the human needs and form a coherent society. It should never be used against humanity. Architects should suggest indirect techniques to influence a particular behavior and loved reaction from the viewers. ‎These techniques achieve its purpose without spreading hate or resentment in the ‎community. Great architects and planners should look beyond this undesired action and deal with its origin to prevent spreading it.

Which significant aspects of the global platform ‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ did you liked the most, and why?

The unique approach of ‎‘zerobeyond – the new frontier!’ and the tendency to illuminate young architects’ thoughts enables me to learn about their perception and visions and contributes to form a connection with other architects around the world. In my view, architecture is a distinctive profession with its specificity. And requires special people to study and succeed in it. Experiences, determination and desires for change are capable of producing creative ideas regardless of having long experience in the field. The existence of communication between old and new architects is essential for evolution, improving its reality and problems and achieving architectural competence. The global platform seeks to bridge this gap. I am proud to be a part of zerobeyond’s community.

Plan -Second Floor Mall

How will the younger generation of architects make drastic innovative changes to mitigate the catastrophic effects of Climate Crisis? Elucidate your solution(s) and perspectives.

The younger generation of architects is distinguished by its fresh ideas and ability to formulate creative solutions to current problems. We grew up conscious of the enormous carbon footprints and are well-aware of the importance of reducing these emissions caused by poor construction procedure. Furthermore, the evolvement of technology like AI and Real-Time Testing are significant quality of ‎architecture today that can experiment design in actual location, circumstances ‎and make the needed adjustments before being built, thus efficiently eliminating its bad ‎effects on our planet. It also helps with exploring new eco-‎materials and improves time efficiency. ‎


Local charm of cities has diminished due to Modern Architecture as every city looks alike and similar. How should architects / urban planners / landscape architects modernize cities, while maintaining the local charm intact?

Successful architecture should reflect the place and meets the residents’ ambitions, aspirations and desires. It must ‎preserve the local identity of the city, culture and environment, while developing ‎modern design ‎solution to preserve common lores and ethics, and form‎ physical bond with the society. Perceiving the architecture similar style that takes over today, I am more aware of its side effects over ‎the community. ‎

Our modern world and lifestyle requires particular supplements to our buildings, but the local identity must be conserved and improved while implementing ‎modern intellect not demolished or erased. This can be achieved by deep understanding to the area’s history and culture, as well as, by including participation of local people in design process to reflect their problems and aspirations.

Plan – 11th – 15th & 23th – 27th Floors

Looking at the past in the current present, what are the futuristic architectural changes you would like to see in your home city / town? Elucidate the reasons for your vision.

Growing up in this small city had a great influence on me as a person and as an architect. Jableh is an ‎ancient city that still conserves its majority of ancient buildings with a fascinating ‎nature that ‎combines sea, mountain and forest, yet it is not well-employed.

Plan – First Basement Floor

I would ‎love to see nature-evolving projects that indulge people with nature, while using ‎environmental techniques and smart city planning implementations ‎too. Moreover, rehabilitation approaches that illuminate on its architectural ruins deserve to receive more local and global attention, especially “the old city of Jableh”.

Image Courtesy: Leen Faris

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