skip to content

Supervisor: Dr Irit Katz


Research overview:

Peacebuilding and the pursuit of justice are critical to our collective futures, and yet remain underexplored within the field of architecture. In spaces where violence has happened, the links between peacebuilding and architecture are particularly salient. While it is widely acknowledged that such sites are important for the memorialization and addressal of past injustices, the physical spaces themselves are often viewed as evidentiary, narrative, or organizational backgrounds to these practices, and not active collaborators in them. Addressing this through a thread of new materialism that positions matter as active and mutually entangled with human dynamics, my research examines the material agency of sites of violence in negotiating sociopolitical orientations and mediating legacies of conflict. The premise is that architectural material is an active collaborator in the formation of memory, identity, and sociopolitical dynamics.

This research explores these lines of questioning through Nyayo House, a former torture centre in the basement of an office tower in downtown Nairobi. Employing a qualitative methodology that combines interviews, detailed architectural documentation and collective image-making, this study embraces the complex entanglements of memory, temporality, and matter to better understand how architecture might contribute towards a more just future.



Funded by the Smuts Memorial Fund, the Cambridge Trust, and a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, Nicholas’ architectural scholarship is complemented by several years of practical experience at internationally recognized firms. Having won awards for design and teaching at the University of Waterloo, where he studied at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, Nicholas has also notably published his research on memorial architecture and justice in the Journal of Architecture and Architecture and Culture, before pursuing his PhD.