LU architecture students construct bent-wood structure for campus

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By Alexander Mayhew, for the Lambda

If you’ve walked by the bowling alley lately, you’ve most likely seen the bent-wood structure in Founders Square. That structure is the result of the Laurentian Architecture Laurentienne (LAL) students’ design-build workshop, which was a class project for the Indigenous Precedents course.

The course aims to increase knowledge regarding precedent (i.e typologies and building forms) that will inform design thinking. Case studies are drawn from indigenous architecture, and particular emphasis is placed on precedents that draw upon indigenous cultures from the northern and southern hemispheres, as they relate to the design of contemporary buildings and shared social settings.

LAL Professor Jake Chakasim and shop technician Francis Thorpe led the project. The design was incorporated into the tepee in Founders Square, and prepared for Indigenous Education Week.

Drawing on the aboriginal tradition of learning by doing, students worked collaboratively to develop a sculptural installation that responds to the specificity of site conditions and the pliable properties of wood. This exercise was carried out without pre-planning, or a preconceived outcome.

“It was a lot of fun to create something (for) campus and show students what we do downtown in (the) studio,” said Haley Schumacher, a third year LAL student.

Schumacher also noted “it wasn’t too difficult” to work in a large group to create the structure, since most of the architecture projects the students work on are created in fairly large groups anyways.

Be sure to check out the structure in Founders Square before it’s gone.

-Photos by Alexander Mayhew