Author: Martha Woolfrey

Artifacts of the Soil

Studio: ARCS 2106 – Studio 3

Professor: Phuong-Trâm Nguyen

Year: Winter 2021

Project Description

Located near Ottawa’s LeBreton Flats, the project investigates relics of the area’s faded industrial identity. The brownfield site is layered with a history of logging and railways which were abandoned as scrap land. Through envisioning pedogenesis as an archive, the makerspace reveals the renewal of a landscape.

Buried deep in the soil, the Salvaged Media Makerspace carves a new topography to nourish curiosity. Earth excavated for the foundations forms a gently sloped hill, inviting pedestrians from elevated Albert Street. A ramp ascends from the submerged Robotics Lab towards City Centre Avenue. The design intervention suggests symbiosis between the building and environment. Native plant species populate the many gardens and green roofs while suggesting areas of refuge and contemplation.

The tectonic structure borrows from laminations in geology reflective of Ottawa’s sedimentary rock forms. Imagined fault lines fracture the program in plan, designating areas of industrial and hand craft. Cascading from Albert Street to Trillium Pathway, the circulation resembles nearby Chaudière Falls. Metal and reclaimed media express the structure’s connection to the site. Patinized copper, weathering steel and zinc forge a dialogue of making through decay.