Toronto Metropolitan University
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The Collective Memory Of Space: The Architecture Of Remembering And Forgetting

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posted on 2021-05-23, 12:28 authored by Zhivka Hristova
The formation of national memory depends to a large extent on a nation’s success in constructing multiple commemorative forms: symbols, ceremonies and celebrations, museums and monuments, tradition, and cultural texts that provide symbolic arenas for narrating the nation. These forms assist the nation’s memory in tracing themes of continuity between the past and present; they establish shared history and cultural heritage. Significant changes in the nation’s life, whether social of political, later the collective mind of its citizens. With political landscapes changing, existing forms of remembrance may be transformed or reinterpreted or they may be altogether demolished and new commemorative symbols constructed in their place. Remembering, as well as forgetting, becomes a social and highly politicized process. A point of departure for this thesis is the city of Sofia, Bulgaria. It is studied as a palimpsest, uncovering layers of history from antiquity to the present. Studying the historical layers reveals not just the evolution of the city but also the political views and ideas shaping Sofia’s morphology. The street becomes a locus of collective memory. A memory walk is developed, exposing the history of specific sites, rendering visible the specific memories and acknowledging the importance of the sites in the time period they existed. A narrative is constructed, travelling through space and rebuilding memories. This thesis will look at issues of public commemoration, remembering and forgetting traumatic events. It will focus on political transformations of space and erasing, shaping and rebuilding a nation’s memory. Deliberate demotion of built fabric in an attempt to erase the collective memory of society will be examined.





  • Master of Architecture


  • Architecture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis