Date of Submission
Bachelor of Architecture
If I were to ask a group of people to explain what countries make up the Middle East, they likely wouldn’t be able to list more than a few. Despite the internet, technology, and social media being within reach, it is still common to see generalizations about groups of people, their origins, and the boundaries of those origins. This leads me to wonder why. Is this an issue within our educational system? Is this due to lack of accessible information? Or maybe information isn’t presented in a way that is easily understood and digested? An abundance of information remains just that. Useless until it is transformed into curiosity, awareness, and empathetic understanding. This leads me to my next question - How can educational environments begin to expand and shape people’s perspectives? This thesis aims to explore three areas of research including K-5 education, installation design, and Middle Eastern studies. Firstly, by focusing on K-5 education, it exposes children to knowledge they otherwise don’t get in school. For many students, the end of the school day is the end of time spent intentionally learning. Students only spend around 20% of their waking hours in a classroom. How students spend their time outside of a classroom has a significant impact on their learning and knowledge. Children are the seeds of our future, so expanding their world view both inside and outside of school is essential for their growth. Secondly, the installation design will optimize assembly and disassembly to allow full mobility and transportability. The temporary nature to the installation allows it to reach varying communities including urban, suburban and rural areas within the US. By not being constrained to a particular site, this installation will reach communities that otherwise don’t have the opportunity or access to this information. Lastly, the content within the installation being discussed is Middle Eastern studies. Why you may ask? The existence of the Arab American population in the US is not celebrated, let alone acknowledged. I mean this quite literally – we don’t have a Middle Eastern and North African category option in the US census. This lack of visibility over an entire community can be highlighted through architecture. Interactive aspects within the installation will illuminate this group that has been pushed to the outskirts of US history. By using architecture as a tool through an interactive, travelling, and educational installation, this thesis will result in exposure and illumination of the Arab American community in the United States. This thesis advocates for understanding. It aims for anyone who experiences the installation to leave with new knowledge and a broader understanding.