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116 | This is Architecture as Well

Rania Qawasma is a Palestinian-American Architect working in the areas of advocacy for refugees, social equity, affordable housing and community-based design projects. Qawasma’s work is a rejection of old ideas where refugees are merely on the receiving end of a designer’s intent. Instead, she advocates a fluid partnership between designers, refugees, community and art.

116 | This is Architecture as Well

Rania holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture engineering and a master’s degree in sustainable design from the Boston Architectural College. She is an active member in the Arab-American community, working with local organizations across a variety of media to assist Syrian and Iraqi refugees resettling in the Seattle area. The founder of Architecture for Refugees-USA, Qawasma’s vision is to encourage architects, designers, and thinkers to engage in offering solutions for the displacement crisis.

She co-founded “Color my Home”, a project that empowers displaced children by narrating the architectural story of their journey. Her book project “This is Home” is an ever-evolving infographic guide designed to help refugees assimilate into their new homes. The project has met with resounding success and is currently being adapted for new communities all over the world.

She recently founded “Daarna”, a community-based organization which believes in social equity and community-based designs as solutions to end displacement. They partner with refugees, local communities, and activists to provide resources which can empower those forcibly displaced to heal, adjust, and build their new communities. Their latest project, “Ahlan”, is a mobile app based on “This is Home” to help refugees familiarize themselves with their new neighborhoods and cities.

We were fortunate enough to be joined by Rania on our podcast Social Design Insights, where she shared with us her vision of a world where refugees are welcome.


Our opening theme music for 2019 is "Bang Bang" and our closing theme is "Salvame" both by Eljuri from her album "La Lucha." The break music for this episode is "Arabanta" by Chaz Kkoshi from the compilation album "Rock the Tabla."