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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Architectural design can be used as a tool to assist in integrating Syrian immigrants into American culture. Conceived of as a vital place-making technique, architecture can build Syrian community in the United States, while maintaining and promoting the links to Middle Eastern heritage. This thesis draws upon the lived experience of a large Syrian population in Worcester, MA, and makes a case for design in the development of a Syrian-American community center. This Syrian-American community center seeks to satisfy three goals. First, it offers a space for Syrian immigrants to better transition into American culture while also staying strongly connected to their Syrian culture. Second, the center helps to integrate Syrian people of different religious backgrounds and generations and promote the development of a shared Syrian-American community. Third, it aims to raise awareness among non-Syrian Americans of Syrian immigrants and culture.

Towards these ends, the design of the community center is driven by Syrian concepts and culture. It includes spaces to support group programming, educational and cultural classes, exhibitions, parties, festivals, and performances. The design centers around an interior courtyard, representing the family or the heart of the home. Through this concept and the reimagining of traditional Syrian elements such as materials and patterns, the community center promotes and encourages relationships among its users and aids Syrians in transitioning into their new lives.


First Advisor

Robert Williams