Author: Daniel Dickson

Stoic Ephemeral: Building as Urban Forest for a Viable Canadian National Capital Region

Studio: ARCS 5104 – MArch Studio 1 – Gateway

Professors: Maria Denegri and Jerry Hacker 

Year: Fall 2020

Project Description

The institution is a forum for indigenous groups, local citizens, and the (inter)national community to engage the urban forest towards addressing the greatest challenge to our collective existence: climate change.

Closely studying the warming sun and riverside topography evolved an approach founded in passive strategies. Foremost, thermal mass Trombe walls stabilise temperatures, resulting in pro-longed greenhouse bands. These designed-for-demolition transitory spaces adapt to season and use, in time returning to parkland.

A pavilion integrates the greenhouses across topography with a central ramping space; visitors from the urban street descend through the building to the river unimpeded. Here, perennial program is housed, informed by a poetics of the forest. Structural density and scale create compact stands and airy glades, while ceilings recall ephemerally lit canopies in crests, troughs, opaque covering and glimpses of sky.

The site strategy meanwhile expands to the Capital context, whose urban forest pattern languages are adapted in miniature as deciduous and coniferous growing areas and renaturalised stands. At the scales of tree, building, and landscape, the project seeks a celebrated, viable narrative for the urban forest.