A Home then, A Home Now
Home is a deceptively simple term connecting a vast network of people, places, objects, and emotions. As people move from place to place, home manifests through inhabitations of built form. These spatial identities are records of movement which reinforce the importance of home as an architectural research site to learn about diverse diasporas in a rapidly globalizing world.
This research explores a process for understanding diasporic spatial identity through how people remember, inhabit, and imagine their homes. The project examines peoples’ movement from Hong Kong to Canada between 1955-1975, after the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act which prevented Chinese migration to Canada. Connecting past and present, there and here, this project seeks to identify elements which constitute a Hong Kong Canadian home. Does a Hong Kong Canadian spatial identity exist? If so, how can it be seen and understood by architects?
Drawing from migration scholarship and participatory research to generate mutual knowledge between architects and diasporic people, this research captures five stories of movement embedded within the architecture of home. Between phone interviews, participants drew floor plans of their childhood homes and imagined changes to their current homes, annotated with embodied experiences and desires. These conversations navigate Hong Kong Canadian identity, transnational connections to home, and spatial purpose, generating knowledge of lived experience through engagement.
Tracing movement and memory through Hong Kong Canadian homes, this project contributes to the discourse of unheard voices in the places we call home and encourages the architectural discipline to learn to listen.