Toronto Metropolitan University
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The future of the past : Toronto's palimpsest

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posted on 2021-05-23, 09:36 authored by Lee Ryan
The architecture of the city is constantly being built and erased and rebuilt again, leaving traces behind. These traces can be read and reused in further designs. However, today new designs disregard these traces of the past, or ‘palimpsest.’ The preservation and renewal of historic buildings may be seen as presenting an obstacle to the future of the city; however, these buildings hold great meaning for residents. Preservation in architecture often fails to consider the palimpsest that exists within buildings. By finding ways to preserve existing buildings, not as time capsules but as palimpsests, new layers of meaning can be added to architecture. This thesis will explore palimpsest as an alternative method to preservation and its use in architectural practice. It will present the history and evolution of palimpsest and preservation, and propose a design for Stanley Barracks within the Exhibition Grounds to which palimpsest can bring new depth and meaning.





  • Master of Architecture


  • Architecture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis

Thesis Advisor

Kendra Schank-Smith