Reza Nik Studio
an experimental architecture practice


A weekly piece reflecting on current thoughts, theories, research and sometimes creative writing.

[in solidarity with...]

Yesterday, there was a terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand by a white supremacist.
49 innocent lives were lost with 42 injured and 2 in critical condition.

This is deeply saddening and it has raised a few questions for me about identity, what it means to be a good ally - personally & professionally as an nonarchitect / artist.

The hate and bigotry continues to grow against muslims which has accelerated over the past two decades following 9/11 and fueled by master bigots like the president of the United States, Donald Trump.
I am not a muslim, I consider myself an agnostic. And even though I have so much history with the muslim community (being born in Iran, first name being Mohammad, living in Dubai and going to an Iranian-Islamic school from grade 2-6), I don’t associate myself as part of the community… therefore, I am an ally.

So what does it really mean to be an ally?

According to a website called Guide to Allyship :

Take on the struggle as your own.
Stand up, even when you feel scared.
Transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it.
Acknowledge that while you, too, feel pain, the conversation is not about you.

How can I be a better ally?
Can architecture, design or art follow these guidelines of “allyship”?

These questions are important to me because I want to continue to work with communities which I am not connected to directly. For example, I am currently working with the Parkdale community - a neighbourhood going through rapid gentrification and displacement in the west end of Toronto, but I am not from there, and I don’t live there…. I did work there for a year but that’s about it. And I want to continue to work with communities as an “architect” , designer, artist and an ally, to offer my time and skills to help with their cause in any way I can. I believe understanding these nuances is crucial and requires constant research and unlearning - which I am hoping to continue to do in order to be better equipped while being an ally to muslims, and all other marginalized and racialized groups.

My heart goes out to all those who were impacted directly or indirectly by yesterday’s horrific events.
Let’s work together to create a more just & equitable world by starting off as being good allies.

Reza Nikally