ERA Architects

Botwood build: complete

As part of the Culture of Outports initiative, Andrew Pruss, Alana Young, Jordan Molnar, and Shelley Ludman recently collaborated with six Ryerson architecture students and residents of Botwood, Nfld. to design and build an intervention in the local landscape.

The “Viewfinder” is a wood-frame, open-plank pavilion that serves as a shade structure, windbreak, and a frame for significant heritage views of the locale. It is intended as a focal point for community engagement, a landmark to stimulate activity in the community, and a steppingstone toward the cultivation of future cultural and economic opportunities.

Located on the popular Killick Island Walking Trail, the Viewfinder, frames views of historic crash sites of the Excalibur and the Canso, as well as of a local plane monument, and the terminus of Killick Island itself. The pavilion is built on the foundations of a 1920s weather station, and recalls the basic form of this historic structure.

The week-long community-build process took shape through several community events, including two public design consultations, official “screech-ins” and “jiggs dinners,” the lighting-up of the local airfield with homemade ice candles, and, of course, numerous days of collaborative construction, first in the Botwood fire hall, and finally on the build site on Killick Island.

Culture of Outports is an initiative by ERA Architects (supported by TD Canada Trust), which uses research, design, and planning to inspire livable communities facing economic and cultural change after the decline of the Northern Cod Fishery.

Botwood, a town of 3000, was a significant settlement for the Beothuk people, and became a major point of settlement for Europeans. The site has served as a major port of trade (both air and ocean), and was an important base for the RCAF during WWII.

A big thank-you goes to TD Canada Trust, our Ryerson students, and the community of Botwood for their incredible warmth, skill, enthusiasm, and hard work.

For more images and updates, please see CultureOfOutports.com.