Author: Pouian Delfanazari
Reclaiming Memories: An Atlas of Palestinian Diaspora in Canada
Studio: MArch Thesis
Advisor: Suzanne Harris-Brandts
Some 5 million people live in the Palestinian diaspora today, including over 50,000 individuals in Canada, as the prospects of a possible return to their ancestral homeland become ever more complicated with the realities of protracted occupation and exile. This thesis envisions a diasporic space for Palestinians in Canada. The aim is not to target a fixed reality towards specific architectural solutions, but rather to put forward speculations that would illuminate the diasporic identity of Palestinians living in Canada. The process of propositional space-making is underpinned by core concepts of oral history and collective identity, spatialization and reterritorialization, belonging and geography, as well as transnational and in tercultural solidarity and memory. The intent of this thesis is to utilize architecture as a form of spatial agency for Palestinians, an apparatus for engaging diaspora as an operative process of common memory production and as the site of remote resistance and cultural preservation. Building on existing literature and case studies, as well as firsthand Canadian fieldwork and interviews, with a focus on community infrastructure and its associated social impacts, this thesis explores a series of interventions to interrogate the network of relations that would construct a space of diasporic connectivity.