Displacement: Placemaking for the Uprooted
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Increasing migration to cities in developed countries is an inevitable part of present day’s globalizing society. For those migrating, the process is often a byproduct of war or absence of opportunities in migrants’ native homelands. It is a privilege, a manner of freedom, and a chance at a higher quality of life. As waves of migrants enter foreign countries, various problems arise, exacerbated by rising impressions of detachment from the loss of everything native. Migrants also experience feelings of displacement both physical and psychological. This thesis analyzes how architecture can mediate the process of assimilation into a new geography by creating a sense of place. The argument will assert that idiosyncrasies within the population are catalysts for an enlightened culture. This thesis does not intend to solve the problem of migration, but rather open a conversation about belonging, memory, and hybridity as it applies to the migrant and the built environment. Currently, there is a lack of architectural precedent successfully accommodating migrating populations. To fill this gap, this thesis will propose both a dwelling and a gallery to raise awareness, memorialize the remaining fragments of homelands and construe immigrants’ feelings of deracination to evoke a sense of empathy. The proposal will be situated in Washington D.C. so that it may serve as a model for creating similar forums in this age of mass migration.