ARCH514: 2018 Community Design Workshop

From August 10 to August 31, 2018, ten McGill architecture students and architect/carpenter Theodore Oyama participated in this design/build workshop coordinated by Professor Robert Mellin in the outport of Tilting, Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Students engaged in a collaborative design and construction project to provide access to "The Devil's Rocking Chair," a large rock on the edge of the rugged coastline near Greene's Point. Previously extremely challenging to access, the project involved the construction of a series of platforms or "bridges" as they are locally known that take visitors on a journey through a small valley leading to the stone. The path was carefully arranged to enhance the experience of the terrain and geology. This is one of the most remarkable locations in Newfoundland for its geological features, the intersection between light and dark igneous rocks, also with a few large metamorphic rocks from Baffin Island deposited during the last Ice Age. The project was initially inspired by Professor Ricardo Castro's chapter "A Ceremonial Path among Rocks, Sun, Wind, and Words," in the book Syndetic Modernisms (Piloto University, Bogota, 2012), describing a stone path at Punta Pite on the Pacific coast of Chile. Similar to the project in Chile, our project highlights the difference between the rough, irregular terrain and the smooth and comparatively fragile wooden bridges. Construction was difficult as much painstaking work was required to fit wooden elements to the stones. Ballast lockers containing heavy stones were installed under all the bridges to prevent wind-uplift, and also to resist heavy seas that occasionally break over these cliffs in winter storms.


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