Catherine Hamel's interests lie in the potential role of architecture as an instrument for social reconstruction. Of specific interest are intrusions that allow themselves to be diluted in their endeavor to reposition considerations in the public realm; in subtle disturbances that carry the potential to instigate change, not by altering existing systems, but the attitudes towards them. Specific themes investigated to date include identity and estrangement in the context of post-war reconstruction and exile; architecture and justice; memory in the scarred body and the voicing of political experiences in public space. These topics are explored through her teaching, drawing, and writing. What agitates her is not the sides people take, but the lines they draw in order to be able to take them.
Publications on these themes include Drawing Lines of Confrontation, in From Models to Drawings: On Representation, and Repurposing With A Vengeance: A Dance of Restrained Acts Towards Justice in Architecture And Justice: Judicial Meaning In The Public Realm.