Author: Jacob Wilson
Studio: ARCC 3301 – Conservation Studio 1
Professor: Natalia Escobar Castrillón
Year: Fall 2020
The project is titled Hidden Courtyards. The main idea is to explore the role of yards as spaces for gathering and changing discovery that empowered resistance for enslaved labourers against the plantation’s oppressive forces. The Belle Alliance Plantation was constructed in 1846 and rose to become one of the most prominent sugar plantations in southern Louisiana. This plantation contributed to approximately 20 years of slavery in the Antebellum South. However, there is little recorded information about these people on this plantation. The plantation landscape created methods of suppression to prevent enslaved labourers’ knowledge of life beyond the plantation grounds. However, the enslaved people instilled hope by creating hidden and visible spaces for gathering, expression, connectivity, and rebellion. One of those spaces includes the yards that surround the enslaved cabins. These spaces allowed the enslaved people to practice traditions, create gardens, and rebel against the oppressive forces. The intervention consists of modifications to the landscape, subversion of the Belle Alliance Mansion that challenges the colonialist power embedded in this architectural expression. Additionally, residences and a welcome centre reinforce the ideas of community and gathering and memorial spaces that create nodes of changing programs, meanings and sensations.