Wesam Al Asali (Syria) is an architect, educator and researcher with experience in building crafts, structural design, and local building materials. His work explores and emphasises the role of culture and society in rethinking how cities are grown and consumed in the context of climate challenges. Focusing on the Middle East and Latin America, Wesam’s practice engages with the role of “scarcity” as a heuristic process rooted in the situated production and inhabitation of the built environment. 

During his residency at Delfina Foundation, as part of The Politics of Food programme (autumn 2022), Wesam will investigate how domestic architecture in Syria was transformed into machines for food production, processing, and storing during the last ten years of the war’s severe scarcity of resources and energy. When freezers were shut down and food became expensive, many old food preservation habits became valuable again. The project will rely on oral and visual history to unpack these habits and show the impact of food crises on the notion of dwelling in different geographies in Syria. 

Wesam is an assistant professor at IE School of Architecture and Design in Segovia, Spain. He received his PhD in 2021 from the University of Cambridge, where he worked on design strategies for thin-tile vaults for low-carbon ceiling systems. Currently, he is the Global Fund fellow at Princeton University, working on his manuscript Cultures of Making, which examines selected case studies of vernacular crafts and construction from the Middle East. Wesam is the co-founder of IWlab, his architectural practice, and CERCAA, his school of building crafts for architects and architecture students in Valencia, Spain.

Supported by

British Council

With additional support from

Delfina Foundation’s Network of Middle East, North Africa & South Asia Patrons


The Politics of Food:
Season 5


Autumn 2022


Please note all artist-in-residence biographies are accurate at the time of their residency. For up-to-date bios please visit the artist’s website.