A stitch in time: Grad project pieces together pandemic experiences


University of Waterloo Engineering publishes an article about Brenda Reid's thesis.

Read the article here.


Care as Architectural Practice

Thesis abstract:

The thesis explores the concept of care and its implications in public wellbeing through architectural practice. The Waterloo Region of Ontario, during the coronavirus pandemic, provides the setting of this investigation. The site's specificity and the pandemic's global condition revealed conditions of care on a spectrum that the thesis may have otherwise overlooked.


First, through language, we examine care as a series of definitions and its evolution of meaning. Historically, its use in Western society exposes its role in whiteness and provides the contextual background for this contemporary investigation. Feminist Care Ethics then illustrates the non-sequential structure of care and how we experience it in our lives at both micro and macro scales. Following the discussion on care complexity, the research narrows to look closely at care through one artifact, the quilt. We can observe care within its making process, its community and its lifespan. The quilt and its relationship with architecture further discuss care's controversial position in North American culture.


The majority of the thesis work has comprised of a series of projects and exercises attempting to find the architect's place in care. Presenting the work within than intersectional care ethics provides a structure for discussion. The four categories, attention, action, communication and maintenance, look individually at aspects of care and are tested through the thesis work. Spanning all of these chapters, the thesis' primary project, "From Behind the Mask: A Community Quilt of COVID-19 Stories," is both analyzed and informed by each of the selected definitions of care.


The work concludes with a reflection on the research, lessons learned, and a perspective for the architectural profession's future.