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Unsettled: Karen’s Design Studio with International Travel to Cyprus

December 11, 2023

This November, Karen led her advanced elective studio course for Barnard and Columbia seniors to Cyprus where they are working in collaboration with the University of Nicosia faculty and students. Karen, along with Barnard alum Alessandra Swiny, a faculty member at the Architecture Research Center at UNIC, are jointly leading studios to research and propose design projects for the internal refugee housing in Nicosia. This housing, built as temporary housing in the 70’s and now owned by the original occupants, suffers from continual disinvestment in the social spaces and shared infrastructure. The studio topic more broadly addresses global issues of migration, identity, untold histories, trauma, community, and the role of architecture in the design of our built environments. Students have been framing their interests, adjusting their work after intense on-site research, and developing projects relating to a broad range of topics including: adaptive reuse of existing infrastructure, social infrastructure for community gathering and collecting local histories, spaces for local agriculture and circular economies supporting local food production, and support for diverse religions outside the dominant religious cultures in Cyprus.