Water-stained furniture from the Ottawa flood of 2019

Artist: Sheryl Boyle


This tile features a fragment of a water-stained piece of pine cupboard that Associate Professor Sheryl Boyle dislodged from a tree branch along the Ottawa River shoreline in 2020. On April 29, 2019, the area where the cupboard piece was found experienced peak flooding three metres above the typical water level. It was the second “100-year flood” to hit the area within two years. This tile is a reminder of the growing threat of climate change as the cupboard piece was ripped from its home due to our actions on the environment. Boyle’s intentional orienting, cutting, and framing of the cupboard piece provides commentary on architects’ desires to create resilient architecture considering climate change, but also the limits of its resilience. The tile’s horizontal organization, defined by the hinge, with the lower piece projecting out and the upper portion serving as the backdrop, would allow the lower piece to pivot and float should it encounter rising waters, but only to a certain point.