ACTITECTURE: Socially Transformative Architecture Proposal
Architecture has the agency to either perpetuate social exclusion or initiate a social change that can offset the continuing forms of hostile architecture in Canadian public spaces. Designing public spaces must intentionally reflect the needs of the whole community, including marginalized people who are often kept on the periphery of an architect's visualization of a public building. As a person who is a Syrian refugee and formerly held a precarious immigration status as an asylum seeker, I had been, personally, influenced by the cathartic impact of The Fort York Public Library in Toronto. The welcoming architecture of the library had given me accessibility to fulfil my desire for learning about architecture, despite my precarious status and economic barriers that hindered me from accessing university-level education in Canada. The inclusive and warm design of the library had a therapeutic grounding effect of reminding me that I am in a safe environment and no longer surrounded by death through the large windows that allow views of the city and lake. Architects can transform architecture by implementing an approach that I call 'Act-itecture', which stresses the social agency of architecture in positioning marginalized people at the centre than the periphery of the design.