The Architecture of Migration

header photo

The Symposium

Please visit our new website:

Whether it is the nomadic tribe of the Sahara desert, the drifting nations of the medieval times, the rural communities during the 19th century or the current wave of refugees that are fleeing war or environmental catastrophes, human beings, throughout history, have always been on the move, either to look for a better life or even more significantly to ensure survival.

As a phenomenon related to the goal of settling down people, large scale movement of individuals and all the challenges associated are crucial for architecture and urbanism as pointed out by Alejandro Aravena’s Venice Biennale, titled “Reporting from the Front”.  From refugee camps to slums, from housing crises in prosperous global cities to new examples of vernacularism, migration is a topic that architects must understand producing innovative responses. Exploring this topic is the aim of a two-day symposium which suggests the different ways in which migrants coming from the “global south” have shaped the built environment of the European and Mediterranean countries generating a diverse and rich architectural and urban landscape forms. Cultural, Social and economic aspects of this phenomenon will also be analysed in a series of workshops which will introduce and support the main event. Although the forum will be open to contributions coming from different parts of the world, special attention will be given to Southern Mediterranean countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and Albania. Contributions will be open to theoretical and applied research, as well as innovative design projects and strategies. 
The event will take the format of three different workshops and a two-day symposium in which different contributions will analyse the various architectural and social aspects connected to the transcultural exchanges occurred in the Mediterranean Area. Both the workshops and the symposium will be divided into four different sessions each one associated with a specific UN Sustainable goal, led, each one in turn, by the international partners: 

  • Challenges and Opportunities; (Goal 10, Reduced Inequalities)
  • Creative interventions; (Goal 12, Responsible Production and Consumption) Social innovations; (Goal 16, Peace, Justice and Strong Institution)
  • Architectural influences of migrations (Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).

During the Symposium, 16 national and international guests will further explore these topics from different points of view, and a plenary session coordinated by three keynote speakers will summarise the results of the works during the second day. Finally, a poster exhibition, which reflects the four main themes discussed, will support the symposium. The event will take place in Leicester at De Montfort University.
This symposium represents a moment in which academic and stakeholder can cooperate, discussing studies and investigations which contribute to society and the economy through improving social and public services. Workshops are also a space for exchange among such stakeholders and academics to learn from good practice in other areas and segments. Raising the awareness of the architectural and cultural aspect of Mediterranean migration is the most significant output of these activities.
The results of this shared experience will be collected in a book organised according to the four central themes of the meeting.  Finally, the entire activity represents a moment for creating a new international network of scholars and institutions which is exceptionally beneficial for DMU and the Leicester community.

Leicester School of Architecture Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities De Montfort University Vijay Patel Building - The Gallery