A group of Harvard Graduate School of Design students recently made Canadian airwaves for design insight they are offering coastal communities in Newfoundland. The students are members of the Fall 2015 option studio Iceberg Alley led by Lola Sheppard and Mason White (both MArch ’01), visiting associate professors in architecture and founding partners of Toronto-based Lateral Office.
Earlier this October, the studio traveled to Newfoundland communities Harbour Grace, Twilingate, and Port Union to study a series of sites. These so-called “outports,” a local term for small, isolated, coastal communities, line Newfoundland’s “Iceberg Alley,” a stretch of coast named for the annual cycle of icebergs breaking from glaciers in Greenland and floating toward Newfoundland.
Students traveled to the area to observe Iceberg Alley and its outports and engage with community members. They focused on gathering on-the-ground insight to facilitate the studio’s core goal: conceptualize an architecture that negotiates both the hyper-local and the global, the vernacular and the generic, and the reactive and the imposed. Their task through the studio is to present a design project that directly addresses programmatic and economic opportunities emerging from the pressure on outport infrastructure and the need to simultaneously serve and expand beyond the local industries around tourism and natural resources.
“I'd like to think that these architectural students are going to come in and look at some of our potential places here in the harbor and around the town, and see it through those new eyes,” said Harbour Grace councilor Gordon Stone.
To learn more, visit the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)’s recent coverage of the studio visit.
Photo: Admiral's Marina in Harbour Grace, one site that the Iceberg Alley studio is studying. Photo courtesy Gordon Stone.