larraine henning > university of british columbia, MArch > advisor, john bass > 11.12.


gp1 research >

Access to land and right to property have both historically and currently been the subject of much debate. Manifestations of territory and ownership have and will continue to, define our cites and landscapes. The historic practice of gleaning, was a practice of harvesting the residuals after the harvest, taken on by a sub-culture of poorer, transient or indigent peoples. Such a practice challenged the conventional notions of property, as after a harvest it was both legal and widely accepted to engage in such a production, where one mans leftovers becomes another’s livelihood. The practice of gleaning, which still occurs today in both urban and rural settings, identifies the existence of the residual, the forgotten and the neglected, which straddles the boundaries of personal territory and human necessity. One begins to recognize that when property is no longer useful or viable to its owner it must be subjected to the interrogation and resourcefulness of others, so that it can continue to maintain a productive and meaningful relationship with a greater context. Informal architectures present itself as a tool to claim territory, and to delineate boundaries between private and public space. Architecture is then an enabler, empowering the individual in the development of their own built environment, as such space is embedded with new meaning as one inscribes oneself on their environment. The role of the built environment is then not only to provide shelter and a space for activity, but also as a space for strategic territorialization and negotiation within a larger community of people. Informal interventions often appropriate left-over, neglected or vacant space, redeeming a discarded environment with new and often alternative forms of occupation. As denizens of gleaned land, informal settlers challenge traditional notions of property and value in the urban environment, questioning the nature of conventional development. The imposition of, what in many ways can be considered a subculture of occupation, into the space of the city creates a juncture where one must coexist with the other, overlapping, where neither are independent of one another, but are defined by opposition.


table of contents
abstract table of contents acknowledgements dedication urban vacancy gleaning point douglas informal settlements visionary utopias open building infrastructure systems fleeting moments in time and space participation narrative contingency ephemerality materials / scavenging urban agriculture synthesis bibliography list of figures ii iii iv v 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

01. urban vacancy
“Cities emerge and then pass away. They give an impression of duration and security, and yet without question they are in a constant process of being reshaped and will one day disappear again. If nothing is permanent and everything is only temporary, then all housing is only something provisional, its future absence already inherent”. 1 The nature of the city is intrinsically entropic, where the processes of decay and repair are continually at work. Cracks in the urban fabric emerge where spaces and buildings become obsolete and disenfranchised. Sometimes these spaces find new life and emerge once again as active components of the city, but often they do not and remain as voids in neighborhoods and districts.The phenomenon of ‘shrinkage’, obsolescence, and abandonment is an urban condition prevalent all over the world whereby the effects of economic downturns, political revolutions, migration, technology, obsolescence and social disruptions, result in the diminishment of the urban realm. Such shrinking can take the form of the demolition or abandonment of buildings and lots thus plaguing many cities with overwhelming vacancy. ‘Hardcore sites’ begin to appear; “This is the term used by a recently published study for the English Partnerships regeneration agency to define spaces or plots that can no longer be permanently mobilized for the real estate market - despite the availability of infrastructure, full-scale renovation, or careful urban repair. No further appreciation can be gained, and the value of the property drops”. 2 ‘Hardcore sites’ are the product of various factors, such as a sites adjacency to major traffic arteries, the site no longer meets the demand of society, or the site is in an area of cumulative decline, which all render it unattractive to developers. When the blight and decay of vacancy has consumed a site or a district for an extended period of time it becomes more and more difficult to retrieve it from its downward spiral. Many neighborhoods across North America have become subjected to such a process. Sites become abandoned, are infiltrated by transients, buildings are demolished or begin to deteriorate, grasses, weeds and plants grow uncontrollably relinquishing the traces of the past. These places become relics or graveyards of their former productive lives; their demise is perpetuated by the public’s perception of their own state of decay.

1. Oswalt, Phillip. Shrinking Cities Vol. 2: Interventions. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2006. p 144.


2. Oswalt, p 581.

{figure 1} Michigan Central Station, 97-98


{figure 2} Downtown Detroit, 97-98

‘fake estates’
Just before his death Gordon Matta Clark proposed a project, which was ultimately unfinished, titled “Reality Properties; Fake Estates”, wherein Clark purchased several properties in Queens and Staten Island, New York which were between $25 and $75 each.3 These sites were rather small and oddly shaped due to mistakes of surveyors and bits of land caught between other buildings. The lots were essentially scraps of property, neglected by the neighborhood and the city, trapped in an awkward obsolescence. The project was intended to challenge the notions of how property is traditionally treated in contemporary society, where ownership is determined by use and as a way to articulate accessibility to what is seen by many as unusable space or leftover space. “The paradox of buying this unusable land, of submitting without use value to the registers of exchange value, presents a contemporary attenuation of Marx’ early thinking on property, when he notes that ‘private property has made us so stupid and narrow minded that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists as capitol for us”.4 The project describes the spaces within many cities that fall between the cracks and remain vacant regardless of any potential value they might possess. The project asserts the notion that despite how these vacant lots may seem there is value embedded on that property, just as there would be had they been located in other parts of the city or in different configurations.

3. Oswalt, p 572. 4. Kiendl, Anthony. Informal Architectures: Space and Contemporary Culture. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2008. p157.


{figure 3} Gordon Matta Clark, “Fake Estates”

interim uses
Helle Tempo is a district of Hellersdorf in Berlin which has become overwrought by abandonment and has prompted many residents and owners to flee for fear of further dilapidation. In an attempt to save the district from total disuse the district authorities have initiated a strategy for occupation of vacant sites and buildings in the interim. Each abandoned site has been identified with markers to solicit occupation from any interested parties to settle spontaneously and without the usual hindrances of bureaucracy. The lots became free, literally free, for those who took the initiative in exchange for only the operating costs, while the property taxes and liability insurance was waived. The district also donated materials to site occupants for use in the construction of their space to help promote its use. Spaces where then infiltrated by many for various uses, such as pony stables, a merry-go-round museum in a former warehouse; a boxing club in a former gymnasium, ski classes on an artificial hill and several public gardens. “Interim uses seem to be the miracle cure for bankrupt districts, space surpluses, vacancy, and reduced budgets. In addition to the goal of saving the fees and operating costs incurred even by unused vacant lots, the governments of shrinking cities are hoping above all that interim uses can stop the trend toward perforated spaces and social segregation. Because lack of demand rules out the options of selling or building on unutilized properties, interim uses often represent the only opportunity to stop the feared downward spiral- vacancy, the departure of residents, and vandalism, until entire districts are abandoned- so that the urban network and public life can be preserved, at least temporarily”.4 In Leipzig the city is currently trying to manage a stock of over 1000 vacant sites, thus it has initiated the organization HausHalten to mitigate the problem. HausHalten is an association that provides somewhat temporary occupants for vacant buildings by establishing temporary ownership that is transferred from the actual owner to the ‘temporary’ occupants.5 Sometimes the occupants stay for a period of several years, in some cases ownership was permanently transferred to the new occupants, or the occupant has been allowed to continue their possession for a considerable period of time. The city provides 15 Euros per square meter to the new occupants on the condition that they become responsible for all maintenance costs and utilities as well as take on the redesign 5

4. Oswalt, p 341 5. “The Wächterhäuser scheme”

of the space in such a way as to permit future construction. The original owners of these buildings are attracted to this arrangement as they are relieved from maintenance costs and the occupants prevent the building from being overrun by vandalism and criminal activity, the occupants also often repair the building and construct interior finishes etc, which must be left behind by the temporary occupants and become the property of the original owner when and if it is transferred back. “A surplus of freed-up space provides new possibilities. A dearth of long term options for repurposing is replaced by the ephemeral activities of interested parties who have little capital to spare. They experiment with new uses and forms of cooperation, create social interactions, and give new cultural meaning to what was found there. Not every vacant space will find interested parties, and the fleeting actions are of limited duration. Still, sometimes they represent seeds for longer-term developments”. 6 These somewhat temporary buildings become desirable spaces for those sectors of society seeking alternative lifestyles that cannot find adequate or affordable housing solutions in the typical market. Lützner Straße 30 is a building that was obtained in the 90’s and has since been transformed into loft studios for he students of the Visual Arts Academy, as well as a large corner shop and communal meeting space on the main level. “Interim use is one of the fundamental classical principles of the market economy. Utilization cycles are becoming shorter and shorter and capital is proving to be extremely flexible when it comes to changing locations. Temporariness is thus a principle of our time and not a specific phenomenon relate to interim use alone. In this respect, interim use suits the system”.6 Interim occupants cannot be regarded as a panacea for the blight of vacancy, as cities are fluctuating organisms that go through cycles of decline and growth. Interim uses are either temporary or mobile or they satisfy the need for programs at a given moment in time. At some point the temporary occupant must either overtake or move on. However an interim use is a strategy capable of transitioning a once disregarded space into one with restored purpose and

6. Oswalt, p 339.


6. Heydn, Florian & Temel, Robert. Eds. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces. Berlin: Birkhauser, 2006. p 39.

occupation. Perhaps it is not important whether or not the interim use is thought of as a temporary installment, but rather as a strategy for reclamation, where upon success, permanent status is most often achieved.

{figure 4} Lützner Straße 30, Leipzig.

{figure 5} Lützner Straße 30, Leipzig.

02. gleaning
The occupation of vacant space, the scavenging of scraps from a junk pile and the collecting of discarded food from a dumpster are urban tactics which challenge traditional conceptions of value and property in society. The common phrase “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” accurately conveys the sentiment behind the exploitation of what others seem to disregard, abandon or throw away. To glean: 1.a) to pick up after a reaper. b) to strip (as a field) of the leavings of reapers. 2.a) to pick over in search of relevant material.7 Gleaners were historically peasants who would reap harvested fields of the vegetables and grains that were left behind. These people tended to be the poor, homeless and indigent. The documentary “The Gleaners and I” by Agnés Varda portrays the current practice of gleaning throughout France, and the somewhat counter-culture movement of people that make use of food that is discarded and forgotten.8 French penal code states that gleaning is permitted on any private property post harvest. Gleaning occurs on farm fields, fruit orchards, greenhouses, and coastlines. This phenomenon is particularly unique as it reinterprets the nature of private and public space, wherein private space becomes public in the event that it can be useful to others. Such a law which enables the total utilization of agricultural land clearly exhibits the disparity between the majority and the minority and what they each deem valuable. During the course of an efficient harvest it becomes too time consuming and unproductive to reap every and all of the available food stock, therefore there is always residual product. These residuals are a necessity to those who sustain their livelihoods on such collecting. The collectors belong to a unique sector of society whose sustenance is based on making do with what’s available to them, and are of the attitude that everything has a value even society’s cast off’s . Michel de Certeau writes that individuals tend to operate within prescribed and accepted ‘modalities of actions’ or cultural formalities.9 Some people however traverse the laws defined by places and operate outside of the accepted norms of operations. “They trace ‘indeterminate trajectories’ that are apparently meaningless, since

7. dictionary/glean


8. Varda, Agnes.

9. de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkley, CA: UCLA Press, 1984. p 29.

[figure 6] “The Gleaners”, Jean François Millet

[figure 7] Scene from “The Gleaners and I”, Agnes Varda.

they do not cohere with the constructed, written and prefabricated space through which they move. They are sentences that remain unpredictable within the space ordered by the organizing techniques of systems...although they remain within the framework or prescribed syntaxes (the temporal modes of schedules, paradigmatic organizations of places, etc.), these ‘traverses’ remain heterogeneous to the systems they infiltrate and in which they sketch out the guileful ruses of different interests and desires. They, circulate, come and go, overflow and drift over an imposed terrain, like the snowy waves of the sea slipping in among the rocks and defiles of an established order”.10 Those who glean conduct their practices within a realm that is unconventional and not typically accepted by society. Their practices are what Certeau would describe as strategic tactics, ones that seize fleeting opportunities. 10 “It takes advantage of ‘opportunities’ and depends on them, being without any base where it could stockpile its winnings, build up its own position, and plan raids. What it wins it cannot keep. This nowhere gives a tactic mobility, to be sure, but a mobility that must accept the chance offerings of the moment, and seize on the wing the possibilities that offer themselves at any given moment. It must vigilantly make use of the cracks that particular conjunctions open in the surveillance of proprietary powers. It poaches in them. It creates surprises in them. It can be where it is least expected. It is a guileful ruse”.

10. de Certeau. p 34.

11. de Certeau. p 37.

The practice of gleaning is not however, restricted to those in dire need, many
[figure 8-9] Scene from “The Gleaners and I”, Agnes Varda.

glean or pick out of a certain reverence for the abundance of the land, and the notion that food should simply not be wasted. For instance, in the film, a respectable French chef gleans regularly; using the food he collects in his restaurant or at home. He was taught to glean by his parents, and their parents before them, and it has become a rather commonplace activity in his life, something to do on his time off or a sunny weekend, like a walk in the park. For some, gleaning is not a survival tactic, but rather a pledge to take complete advantage of available resources regardless of ownership. The food that grows from the Earth is a common good and it should be available to everyone and not to be the sole right of the property owner.

Just as food and the air we breath can be considered a common good, the right to land and property is a contested issue for much the same reason. Squatting , not unlike gleaning, is an unconventional tactic of making use of what is no longer useful for someone else. To squat is to glean space, land, property that under the law is in the possession of someone else, regardless of whether or not they are actually occupying it. In some way it is an act of refusal on the fleeting nature of the modern city. The Dutch tradition of squatting is somewhat advanced in that the government condones this practice and has gone so far as to establish a more legitimate manifestation of it; the anti-squat. An anti-squat or anti-kraak is a more organized and regulated response to the problems of squatting. In the Netherlands a building may be legally squatted only after it has been abandoned for a period of one year. At the height of its movement in the late 80’s, a Dutch census identified 3,500 houses, 10,000 houseboats, 21,000 barracks and caravans that were occupied and inhabited by squatters.12 Today the tradition is striving to become more legitimate, wherein housing organizations exist that manage and register anti-squats and those who live in them. The anti-squat has become the home for students, young professionals, artists, expats, and those in need of cheap housing, which is otherwise unavailable. 13 Building owners often appreciate squatters as they


12. Corr, Anders. No Trespassing: squatting, rent strikes and land struggles worldwide. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999. p 14. 13. Katsiaficas, George N. The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements. Oakland, CA: Humanities Pess International, 1997. p 90.

protect their property from more illicit occupants and often make repairs and conduct general maintenance of the building. In North America however, the proliferation of squatting is less organized and addresses the profuse homelessness that handicaps many American cities. “The English word “squat” literally means to sit or hunch down in a temporary manner. In the former Yugoslavia, squatted housing is termed crne gradnje, which literally means “black housing”. Like “black market,” the term indicates activity that must be hidden, in some sense, from authority”.14 Squatting is generally illegal and unwanted by governments as it threatens a city’s image of lucrative investment opportunities, and condones the use of private space as a public good which is seen as a risk or a liability. However, there are cultural movements which oppose the current practices of space occupation and engage in a struggle to better their living conditions, to equitably distribute land and housing, and to promote cultural sovereignty. The ‘Movement of Landless Rural Workers’ in Brazil are a group of landless families that occupy vacant land for the use of shelter and agriculture. They are roughly 200,000 families strong, and face major political and governmental opposition. These movements also take the shape of smaller and more urban organizations of people. Christiania also known as ‘Freetown’ was established in the 70’s by a collective organization of anarchists, hippies, youth etc. who appropriated an abandoned military barrack in the city of Copenhagen, Denmark. Throughout the 70’s Christiania struggled with the political powers and government over their right to the space, and organized themselves as a self sustaining community paying for their water and electricity, establishing their own garbage collection and recycling and boasting several business and community activities.15 Christiania became accepted to some extent as an experimental city within the broad frame of self-government. In 1989 the government decided to implement strategies to ‘normalize’ the community in an effort to permit its sovereignty but also to control the activities within it, which became well known as haven for the use of drugs and junkies. The community has persisted and become a widely appreciated and valued enclave of the city of Copenhagen.

14. Corr, Anders. p 10.



[figure 10] Christiania, Copenhagen.

[figure 11] Christiania, Copenhagen.

The community benefits from government subsidies on its utilities, and public money for the repair and maintenance of its buildings and infrastructure. In Paris Les Frigos is an old complex of refrigerated warehouses originally owned by the French railroad (SNCF) built in 1945 on 91 quai de la Gare. Since the 1980’s the abandoned buildings have been squatted by a series of artisans who have now completely reclaimed the space. Artists workshops are set up within individual cold chambers, however the initial transformation from a fallow industrial site to a productive workshop was an intense process. Windows pierced the thick concrete walls, floors were reconstructed, brick lain, wall partitions constructed, and water, electricity and sanitary equipment were installed.



[figure 12] Les Frigos, Paris.

What is peculiar about both Christiania and Les Frigos is the kind of environment that is fostered from resisting territorial boundaries and cultural norms. Both operate with a certain disregard for regulation and bureaucracy, and yet both become popularized due to the freedom and autonomy that is cultivated from its unorthodoxy. One would imagine, just as it is human nature to do so, that these places would naturally institute their own rules of operation and manners of etiquette. One’s right to space and the claiming of space in such a place would be done both democratically and spontaneously. People seem to take what they need, and passively negotiate with others to manipulate their own personal environment within a larger community. Because space is deemed public and common one tends to manifest their occupation differently than if they are a legitimate and legal owner. In order to claim a space as your own

one might modify and alter that space to reflect their unique and individual character. Through such initiatives, individuals and collectives assert and defend their space. Such a tactic is clearly evident in places like Christiania and Les Frigos, where individual homes, buildings and interiors profess the tastes and artfulness of the occupants in a bold and public manner.

[figure 13-14] Interior of Les Frigos, Paris.


[figure 15] Atelier studio inside Les Frigos, Paris.

03. point douglas
The site of Point Douglas in Winnipeg is one which has struggled with decline and abandonment for decades. The area has a rather turbulent history and an equally dismal future. Prior to the turn of the century Point Douglas was one of the first residential areas of the city, home to the middle to upper class. The site’s original attraction was its proximity to the Assiniboine River and its fertile lands which were much sought after by early settlers. During the period of about 1830-1880 the neighborhood consisted of some of the city’s wealthiest landowners, a variety of shops and local businesses. However the railway which pierced the center of the neighborhood, quickly transformed the area into a thriving industrial district. Homes were replaced by warehouses, mills and factories. The completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway station at the corner of Higgins and Main St. opened the doors to an influx of migrant workers and immigrants. The quality of the neighborhood was soon overtaken by smog, grime and smoke from industry. As value began to drop and the railway brought in more and more foreigners, the neighborhood quickly became home to various immigrants of Ukrainian, Polish, German, Jewish, and Scandinavian descent.17 North Point Douglas was home to the poor and the working class, and it was not long that, due to the low cost of ownership, it became home to the city’s red light district.18 The brothels concentrated on Annabella and McFarlane St. It has since maintained its status as a home to minorities and sex workers, however the majority of industry has since dried up, leaving the neighborhood littered with unused warehouses and factories. Today Point Douglas could be considered a ‘hardcore site”, where crime, vacancy and proximity to major traffic corridors render it unattractive to investment. The original industry that supported the area has since become obsolete and either closed down or moved elsewhere, such as the Rutherford Lumber Co, Vulcan Iron Works, Winnipeg Cold Storage, and the Olgivie Mills. Industries of the past scar the landscape with relics of old and dilapidated buildings, chain link fences and vacant demolished lots. Most of the lots are either abandoned, partially occupied or have been bought by private owners for junk car lots, repair shops and trucking warehouses. What few residents remain, are deprived of any social or cultural amenities such as schools, grocery stores or community

16 folder/NPD_nbhd.PD 18. Gray, James. H. Red Lights on the Prairies. Toronto: Macmillian Company, 1971. p 47.


[figure 16] Aerial view, North Point Douglas, 2007.


[figure 17] Point Douglas, Winnipeg, 1881

centers, and have but a few dingy hotels, corner stores and pubs. The struggles of a neglected neighborhood have taken its toll on the site. The neighborhood is now subjected to the conflicts and crime of local gangs, which claim their territory as their own, and drugs and prostitution find their way into the dark corners, alleys and empty parking lots. The district is considered to be one of the most problematic and destitute and appears to be in a state of continual decline. Violent gang related crime is at an all time high, and the neighborhood is at present the subject of an escalating turf war between two prominent gangs. Residents that are outside the realm of gang affiliation maintain relative autonomy and live amongst the tumultuous environment that seems to take over by night. The site changes dramatically from day to night. During the day the neighborhood is a thoroughfare for heavy trucks and workers from the West side of Winnipeg across the river to the East side. The streets resonate with the howls and barks of the dogs that protect the junk yards and auto shop yards. Many of the former industrial buildings are now being demolished and much of the area is littered with the fragments of former buildings, lots strewn with crumbled bricks and piles of scrap materials. Empty lots which have endured vacancy for much longer are overrun by grass and weeds, and become home to garbage, litter, and lost shopping carts. Some residents make use of the abandoned space, like one on Annabella St. that has over the years constructed a makeshift garden from scrap doors and other junk yard finds. Other residents find the empty space as ideal places to park their cars, working or not. On the weekend during the day, bikers use the trail along the river (the path carved by a former rail line) coming from downtown and passing through the site along Annabella St. At night the streets are empty, and a ghost land descends, but for a few stragglers and prostitutes. Occasionally cars make their way along Higgins, cruising for women. Patrol cars conduct their usual rounds surveying any conspicuous transactions, and residents and transients linger in front of the hotel pub up the street. In any given night attacks from rival gangs erupt and the streets are filled by the sounds of sirens speeding to the aid of yet another young boy down.


[figure 18] abandoned Ogilvie Flour Mill, Higgins Ave.

[figure 19] junk car lot, Higgins Ave.

[figure 20] demolition site of Able Wholesale, Higgins Ave.

[figure 21] site of now demolished Winnipeg Cold Storage Building, Higgins Ave.

resisting gentrification
The waterfront to the Southwest leading towards the downtown, has in the last 15 years, began a complete transition from what was a derelict collection of unused factory spaces and the backend of industry, to what is now a fairly gentrified middle class neighborhood. The neighborhood, however, is not entirely successful, as it caters to a wealthier market of urban city dwellers of which Winnipeg simply does not have much. Thus, a fair amount of the housing is unsold or unrented. The waterfront land in North Point Douglas seems to be resisting this trend of gentrification, which could conceivably seep into the area in 30-40 years. This neighborhood is somewhat dynamic, in that many are persistent to protect their properties along the water so that the neighborhood can have some chance at becoming a smaller scale residential unit of mixed income residents, like it once was. The environment of the “waterfront” and the “exchange” districts in the downtown of Winnipeg, is one which is developing contrary to the types of people who have been or desire to live in these areas. It is reasonable to assume that, a more alternative, inexpensive solution to living would be successful.


[figure 22] Waterfront Drive, Winnipeg.

90 Annabella Street
The Watkins building was built in 1914 as a warehouse for the J.R. Watkins Co. America’s pioneer all natural apothecary.19 The company got its start in Winona, Minnesota in 1868 and built the warehouse in Winnipeg as part of its strategy to expand into the Canadian market. Today the Watkins building is owned by Richlu Manufacturing, who use a small portion of the space (72,000 sq ft total) as a warehouse for boxes of outerwear. The CEO of the company has a particular affinity for the building. While he was in art school he and his friends used part of the space for their studios, and it has since been home to several artist studios. However, they have recently been evicted. The company originally bought the building from the Watkins Co. in 1986 for roughly $80,000, the building is now appraised at $600,000. Richlu is primarily occupying the building to fend off intruders and break-in’s and to maintain the property. They have not been able to lease any of the space as there is very little interest from potential buyers for space in the neighborhood. One could speculate on the building being taken over, or appropriated by these space seekers, who cannot find adequate living spaces in the downtown area, or within the greater area of the city. Let’s say for instance that each floor is divided into 1000 sq ft parcels, given the market price of $600,000 for all 72,000 sq ft, that means a 1000 sq ft parcel would be $8,333 as a basic shell. The Dutch phenomena of squatting is a form of informal space acquisition. What is interesting about squatting unused buildings is that it is a way in which these spaces can be usable in the interim. Canadian cites, especially Winnipeg, are rife with abandoned, unleasable space. Disuse becomes infectious, and it spreads throughout the city, resulting in a ghost town when the sun goes down. The site could then operate much like the vacant lots of Leipzig or Berlin where the original occupants relieve themselves of the responsibility of the building to the benefit of a new occupant, the opportunists; who desire that space as a playground of sorts for their unconventional lifestyle. The site of the Watkins building is at the top of what was historically a long river lot stretching 290 meters from the railroad to the rivers edge. A section



of the site illustrates the relationship the building has with its context; a series of struggling houses engulfed by patches of vacant open space. The vacant parcels infiltrate the building as well, wherein the interior space is not unlike the exterior space, both potentially capable of becoming containers for new occupation. What then would be the condition of such an intervention, would it respond to a somewhat temporary status, and behave like a traveling circus moving from vacant site to vacant site, utilizing the interim periods of temporarily abandoned spaces. Or would it overpower the original ownership and become a strategy for permanence over time?


[figure 23] Watkins Building, 90 Annabella St, Winnipeg


[figure 24] Watkins Building, 90 Annabella St, Winnipeg


[figure 25] Section of site



annab e

lla st.

s ave. higgin

curtis st.

[figure 26] Site plan.

04. informal settlement
“Given the relative transparency of the processes, the limited resources and the absence of intermediaries, informal settlements offer a particularly rich environment in which to explore the construction of meaning through the interlinkage between social and physical space”.1 Informal communities like that of the favelas and barrios across Asia and South America exhibit a culture of building unlike that of anywhere else in the world. These environments are most often constructed by the residents themselves of local materials, scraps and salvaged junk. “Although there is considerable diversity between settlements, most share three key characteristics. Firstly these environments are conceived and constructed by the occupants themselves independently of external controls or professional advice; secondly occupation and construction frequently take place simultaneously; and thirdly such places are usually in a process of dynamic change and demonstrate considerable ingenuity and creativity within limited resource constraints”. 2

1. Menin, Sarah. Constructing Place: Mind and Matter. London: Routledge, 2003. p 88.


2. Menin, Sarah. p 87.

[figure 27] Favelas of Caracas

3. Menin, Sarah. p 89.

Informal construction depicts the abilities and limitations of the occupants and are often reliant on a larger network of construction. Residents must negotiate with one another as their roof becomes the entrance of their neighbor and their balconies are formed by the walls of the person adjacent. John Turner proposes that the building of one’s own home opens up a creative dialogue with oneself furthering self-discovery. “The man who would be free must build his own life. The existential value of the barriada is the product of three freedoms: the freedom of community self-selection; the freedom to budget one’s own resources, and the freedom to shape one’s own environment”.3

4. Kiendl, Anthony. Informal Architectures: Space and Contemporary Culture. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2008. p 160.

[figure 28] Hybrid House exhibit, Marjetica Potrč

The “Hybrid House” exhibition in 2003 at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art was a piece by Marjetica Potrč, that spoke to the phenomenon of temporary housing in Caracas. Each house and structure has to negotiate with its neighbour, and one relies upon the other in a complex

system of construction. The exhibit highlighted the erosion of public space within these communities. As space begins to be claimed and appropriated by occupants they construct extreme urban environments where there are sharp divisions between public and private space. The architecture that results is rather defensive and territorial, where homes are equipped with watchtowers and surveillance territory. 4 “The barrios are not planned settlements; they are homes built without permission. These homes are self-initiated structures that have been upgraded and expanded as needs dictate. In Caracas, such barrios are expanding, not decaying, and they exude a confidence in their own body. Their’s is a rural architecture made of tightly interwoven buildings and alleys”. 5

4. Kiendl, Anthony. Informal Architectures: Space and Contemporary Culture. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2008. p 161.

5. Kiendl, Anthony. p 160.


open city
Vacant, abandoned, desolate and remote locales tend to be desirable locations for ad-hoc and informal modes of habitation. There is something embedded in such spaces that elicit alternative, eccentric and experimental settlements. Perhaps it is due to the site’s detachment from the greater social context, whether that be via proximity and distance or abandonment. Informal settlements, much like squatting communities, are proof that groups of society are capable of mobilization and self-organization when a common goal is shared by all. The Open City of Valparaiso is an example of a kind of informal, amorphous community development, where the inhabitants are all willing participants in an alternative artisan based lifestyle. The city manifested as a result of a desire for a free and uninhibited community of artists, architects, poets, engineers etc, as the founders, Alberto Cruz and Godofreddo Lommi, became dissatisfied with their current environments of education, work and research. The manifesto was to establish an educational community in a barren

[figure 29] Open City, Valparaiso, Chile.

Chilean landscape, where anyone who showed interest could be a part of a communal and rather non-hierarchical place to experiment with the poetics of art and architecture. ”Incorporating a particular aspect of a formal organicism, resisting a conventional form of systematization, always resorting to observation and to the case in question, in a kind of poetic empiricism, the reference to that everyday life understood in as a classical myth was a central element in the convictions of the school”.6 What is explicit within the Open City is the attitude towards the value of adjacency to one another and the influence that a community of people might have on work and life. “The Open City is a place of custom, intimate, everyday, routine. Between the two, a fabric of tales is created, the sum of consecutive experiences, interweaving work and life”.7 Another peculiarity to the city is the lack of order, hierarchy and direction in the overall plan of the community.8 For one, the location is set amongst a dunescape bordered by a grassy plateau, thus the building negotiates with that topography and follows its irregularity. Secondly, the community is intended to embody a certain unpredictability and freedom, and also a lack of center, thus the plan of the city is somewhat meandering, with no over arching organization.


6. Pérez de Arce, Rodrigo & Pérez Oyarzum, Fernandez. Valparaiso School, open city group. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2003. p 12. 7. Pérez de Arce, Rodrigo & Pérez Oyarzum, Fernandez. p 17.

8. Pendleton-Jullian, Anne M. The Road that is not a Road and the Open City. Boston, MA: MIT Press, 1996. p 7.

This allows the inhabitants to build and to wander at will. Thirdly, as part of the ideology of the community, a built project will be carried out as a collective act, and buildings are constantly being built upon, disassembled, and reused. Therefore both the built and the natural environment are in flux, changing in relation to the needs of the community and the natural forces of the landscape. ”In this way the processes of the emergence of new forms alternate with situation of gradual destruction: certain traces evolve into stable forms. The outer shells of the buildings can be enlarged through fresh interventions; new works can absorb former remains, material can be recycled, while some pieces remain unscathed and finite. Deliberately lacking an overall plan, the ensemble unravels itself on the basis of impulses guided by collectively assumed principles underlying design and execution and by the circumstantial conditions of time and place”.9 34

9. Pérez de Arce, Rodrigo & Pérez Oyarzum, Fernandez. p 15.

[figure 30-31] Open City, Valparaiso, Chile.

What is particularly relevant about the mannerisms of such a place is that the notion of completeness is never known. The built space seems to mimic the character of the dunes, whereby they are continually eroding, traveling, and rebuilding themselves in a cyclical fashion. This bears a certain value when thinking of how architecture interjects in a landscape, or even a population for that matter, that is not a stable entity, and is pervious to change. Built into the city is a capacity and desire to neither control daily life nor predict the future, “volver a no saber”, to return to not knowing. There is also no boundary, in the conventional sense, separating city from non-city and building from building.

The Open City, like other developments of this nature, Wright’s Taliesin, seems to reject urbanity by remotely locating itself. There is an element of counter culture at work here, however to counter a culture must one remove oneself from it entirely? Something has to be said for the need to seek nothingness and isolation in order to be completely free and improvisational. However, what then is the repercussion of such an endeavor in a setting that is among the urban, social and political realities of an existing city? For in order to really challenge the conventional way of operating, wouldn’t that imply imposing and inflicting that challenge on the environment you are challenging to begin with?


[figure 32] Open City, Valparaiso, Chile.

05. visionary utopia
The ideologies of ad-hoc or grassroots settlements are akin to the principles and theories of the utopian visionaries of the 1960’s. Groups like the Metabolists from Japan, Superstudio and Paolo Soleri from Italy, and Archigram from England were considered radically experimental and avant-garde. They were fairly antiestablishment and they challenged the conventions of public space, technology, modernism, and the role of architecture. The work from all these groups was provocative in that they proposed radically futuristic, and often democratic alternatives for living. Peter Cook of Archigram believed that technology could liberate man in a profound way, allowing people to be nomadic, architecture to become more efficient and space to be interchangeable and self-determining. “The Ability of objects and assemblies to metamorphose over a period of time so that we are no longer stuck with monuments of a forgotten day….the ability to use the world’s surface and mobility to achieve personal freedom. The nomadic instinct and the nomadic potential of cars and car based enclosures… the realization that although we are beginning to be emancipated socially, economically and through a consumer society, building has not caught up with this range…the interplay of man and machine to develop this responsive environment and the free ranging exchange of all as and when needed”.1 Cook professes that their work is fundamentally concerned with people, and


1. Kronenburg, Robert. Transportable Environments 3. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2006. p 46.

[figure 33-34] Plug-In City, Blow Out Village, Archigram.

2. Cook, Peter. Archigram. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1973. p 16.

finding a way to create a free and unrestricted total built environment.2 Projects such as ‘Plug in City’ and ‘Blow Out Village’ engaged ideas of prefabrication, mass production and transportability as a strategy for housing that could improve the quality of life and become less dependent on a specific location by being reduced to individual units that plug into a larger system of infrastructure and services. The implication of both ‘Plug-In City’ and ‘Blow Out Village’ is open-endedness , wherein the built housing system transcends time and space by being flexible to their various inhabitants and terrains and being planned for its inevitable obsolescence. There is a hierarchy of permanence applied to the various elements, where the longest lasting pieces are closer to the bottom of the section and shorter lasting ones at the top. Alternatively, the work of Adolfo Natalini and Christiano Toraldo di Francia of Superstudio did not indulge technological opportunities and advocated for the dissolution of property and the commodification of space.


[figure 35] Life Without Objects, Superstudio.

”Superstudio professes to conceive of objects, of all buildings, of all artificial physical form, as coercive and tyrannical, as operating to limit a, probably, Marcusean freedom of choice. Objects, buildings, physical forms are, and must be considered, dispensable: and the ideal life must be seen as unrestricted and nomadic – all that we need are a set of Cartesian co-ordinates (representative of electronic structure) and then, plugged into this grid of freedom (or skipping around within it), an equilibrated and happy existence will, ipso facto, ensue”.

3. Nesbitt, Kate. Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: an anthology of architectural theory 1965-1995. New York: Princeton Architectural Press 1996. p 269.


Their work challenged consumer culture and commodity and imagined a society that would be liberated by miniaturization and technological progress, proposing uniformity and equality in what they called ‘continuous monument’, an elemental form spread across the world liberating the rest as nature. The grid of the continuous monument would be a truly democratic human experience: every point on the grid is identical, no place is better than any other.

[figure 36] Continuous Monument, Superstudio.

4. Wall, Donald. Visionary Cities: the arcology of Peolo Soleri. New York, Praeger, 1971. p 26.

The work of Paolo Soleri is probably the least concerned with technology and rather strives to position human habitation within the natural environment in a way that is more ecological. Soleri promotes the idea that spaces should be planned for spontaneity, because just like the earth and its organisms, it is in a state of change and renewal. ”As I see it, space is in constant metamorphosis, inside out if you wish. It is not something that is, a being – it is a “becoming”, something on its way to defining its own identity. As a consequence, I say forget reality. Reality doesn’t exist because it’s ever changing. What exists is the process. Space cannot tell us what it is because it is in the process of creating itself. If we knew itself, it would be the end of its own investigation, of its own creation”.4 Arcosanti is an experimental town in the desert of central Arizona, founded by Soleri in the early 1970’s. The ideals of the settlement are to defy the trends of urban sprawl by providing an alternative to housing with increased density and a more healthy attitude towards the environment and its resources. Once again it seems the solution to the problems of contemporary urban settlement is to withdraw from the city rather than finding a way where one can coexist with the other. 39

[figure 37] Arcosanti, Arizona.

06. open building
Architecture is in a phase unlike any before, where buildings from the past are of a typology or vernacular that is no longer applicable to contemporary culture. The re-appropriation and adaptation of old buildings for new uses is an ever increasing practice. Certain buildings however, lend themselves more so than others to adaptation. Warehouses, factories, barns and churches have the capacity to accommodate new functions given their structural capacity, unobstructed floor space, free spans, and expansive rhythmic column grids.


[figure 38] Stadium conversion to housing, Osaka, Japan.

John Habraken, a Dutch architect and theorist, developed a strategy in the 60’s and 70’s for the re-appropriation of disused building stock for what he envisioned as a alternative approach to housing. The ‘Open Building’ is one that utilizes the structure and servicing framework of an existing building, and uses that as the foundation for ‘Infill”, which he considers is a less permanent layer

of habitation, ie. partition walls, kitchens, bathrooms etc. ”The broadest environmental trend leading professionals toward Open Building practice is the reemergence of a changeable and user-responsive infill (fit-out) level. Infill represents a relatively mutable part of the building. The infill may be determined or altered for each individual household or tenant without affecting the support of base building, which is the building’s shared infrastructure of spaces and built form. Infill is more durable and stationary than furniture or finishes, but less durable than the base building”. 1 Frank Duffy postures that a building consists of layers which are categorized in terms of their lifespan, being permanent, semi-permanent or fairly expendable. “A building properly conceived is several layers of longevity of built components”.2 The categories are as follows; 1. Site: geographical and urban setting, boundaries and context that is eternal and will outlast all buildings. 2. Structure: foundation and load bearing elements (30-300 years) 3. Skin: exterior surfaces (20 years) 4. Services: working guts of building, communications wiring, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and circulation ie, elevators. (7-15 years) 5. Space Plan: interior layout, walls ceilings, floors and doors 6. Stuff: furniture, appliances, lighting,etc.

1. Teicher, Jonathan & Kendall, Stephen. Residential Open Building. London: E& FN Spon, 2000. p 4.

2. Brand, Stewart. How Buildings Learn. London: Penguin Books, 1995. p 13.


[figure 39] Layers of longevity in a building

Habraken views the dwelling as a fundamentally human process, one which is subject to change, therefore architects must produce solutions to housing that allow for this cyclical altering of dwelling space. He anticipated that the ‘Infill’ would run on 10-20 year cycles, producing an environment that is not fixed and continuously undergoing change. ”Built environment, in all of its complexity, is created by people. Yet it is simply far too complex, too large, and too self-evident to be perceived as a single entity, an artifact like a chair, a painting, or even a building. Moreover, built environments have lives of their own: they grow, renew themselves, and endure for millennia…..In Growing and changing through time, the built environment resembles an organism more than an artifact. Yet, while ever-changing it does possess qualities that transcend time”.3 If buildings can behave like organisms then they must submit to continual change; change that should effectually renew their very constitution. An organism renews itself by replacing its cells, which is what makes it durable and persistent. How might a building undergo a similar process? The ‘Open Building’ model is one with particular relevance to the Watkins building in Winnipeg, which boasts a robust structure of cast in place concrete columns and floor plates. One could imagine the complete removal of the building façade and all its interior elements, leaving behind the base structure, the bones of the building, which could lay the foundation for what Habraken describes as ‘Infill’. Not only does the ‘Open Building’ concept lend itself to a kind of spatial and organizational freedom, it also imbues a sense of progression. As a housing strategy Habraken suggests that the ‘Infill’ can occur at different intervals in time, wherein the need for the whole building may not be required, therefore space can be parceled off and developed on an as per need basis. This again is a strategy which could inform how one might begin to inhabit the Watkins building, noting that it may take time before all the space in the building has been appropriated. A key element to the ‘Open Building’ concept is the notion that control and

3. Habraken, N.J. The Structure of the Ordinary: Form and Control in the Built Environment. Boston, MA: MIT Press, 1998.. p 5.


decision making of ones built space needs to be put back into the hands of the individual. The removal of the dweller from the building process is problematic and the dweller should be an active participant in his/her dwelling for it to be more meaningful and viable in the urban setting.


[figure 40] Transference of control from the city to the individual .

diagoon houses
Dutch architect Herman Hertzberger is a follower of Habraken and employed his concept of ‘base building’ to the Diagoon houses in Delft, The Netherlands, built in 1970. The homes are essentially conceived as concrete structural frame, where interior spaces remain relatively open and it is up to the occupant to organize and manage the arrangement of interior walls and to classify rooms with specific functions. The plan is intended to be indefinite, thus allowing it to easily adapt to change over time.4 “The frame is not just the permanent part of the building; it also embodies the buildings’ most important architectural and cultural values, which means that

4. A +U architecture and urbanism. Herman Hertzberger. April 1991. A + U Publishing Co. p 66.

the building can react to changes in the requirements imposed on it over time without damaging its essential character”.5

5. van Zwole, Jasper, Leupen, Bernard, & Heijne, René, Eds. Time-based Architecture. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2005. p 18.

[figure 41] Structural layout of typical Diagoon house

[figure 42] Diagoon Houses, Delft, The Netherlands


[figure 43] Variations of plan, Diagoon House.

07. infrastructure
The concept of infrastructural urbanism is one that counters the proliferation of semiotics, image, representation and meaning functioning in architecture as a way of critique of human behavior, history, context etc. Infrastructural urbanism works in and among the world of things. Stan Allen refers to the practice as “engaged in time and process – a practice not devoted to the production of autonomous objects, but rather to the production of directed fields in which program, event, and activity can play themselves out”.1 Architecture is powerful and it has the capacity to not just represent and critique, but to transform the world. Robin Evans describes this shift in the preoccupation of the architect, “A building was once an opportunity to improve the human condition; now it is conceived as an opportunity to express the human condition”.2 One might argue that a building can do both, however the point is clear that there is a desire within the field of architecture to address the reality of human activity and human space within a built articulation that is more than just mere representation. The ideas behind infrastructure being a discourse within architecture not just within the realm of planning and urbanism are potent. Allen postures that thinking of architecture in a broader more flexible context is necessary to provide useful and meaningful spaces for the public. “Infrastructure articulates the capacity of certain structures to act as a scaffold for a complex series of events not anticipated by the architect – meanings and affects existing outside of the control of a single author that continuously evolve over time” 7. What is meant by infrastructure is a strategy of development that is analogous to for instance a city’s infrastructural system. Allen distinguishes the characteristics of infrastructural urbanism into seven descriptions.3 1.Infrastructure does not construct specific buildings on sites, but the site itself, it prepares the ground for the future. Its modes of operation are to divide and allocate space, and the provision of services for the future. 2.Infrastructures are flexible and anticipatory. They work with time and are open to change. By specifying what must be fixed and what is subject to change, they can be precise and indeterminate at the same time.

1. Allen, Stan. Points and Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1999. p 52. 2. Allen, Stan. p 50.


3. Allen, Stan. p 54-57.

3.Infrastructure allows for participation and multiple authors. 4.Infrastructures accommodate local contingency while maintaining overall continuity- creatively employed to accommodate existing conditions while maintaining functional continuity. 5.Infrastructures organize and manage complex systems of flow, movement, and exchange. What seems crucial is the degree of play designed into the system, slots left unoccupied, space left for unanticipated development. 6.Infrastructural systems work like artificial ecologies, managing flows of energy and resources on a site, and they direct the density and the distribution of habitat. They create the conditions necessary to respond to incremental adjustments. 7.Infrastructures allow detailed design of typical elements or repetitive structures, facilitating an architectural approach to urbanism. Form matters, but more for what it can do than for what it looks like. In a way Habraken’s concept of ‘Open Building’ is subjecting the overall building structure to the notions of an infrastructure, being that the bones of the building are a fixed framework that can contain the development of incremental, participatory, and flexible infill. Allen however, describes the conditions of infrastructure as a kind of field, or space which is indicative of a larger system of parts, rather than the parts themselves. Infrastructural architecture does not necessarily need to preference the whole, perhaps there is a way within the whole to address the particularities of specific cells. Does the act of addressing specificity contradict the strength of the whole? In the case of Stan Allen’s ‘Beirut Souks’ proposal, infrastructure is applied in the form of continuous surfaces that define boundaries and accommodate smaller networks of spaces. The proposal includes an expansive roof structure that is the envelope for the area. Below is then a series of compartmentalized smaller buildings, public program, open space, and smaller interstitial spaces. One might be skeptical of projects that promote these kinds of massive generic roofs that are intended to inspire spontaneous and interesting activity below, such as the Fiera Milano by Fuksas. These projects often operate within the


Miesian mentality of providing a pure open structure that is nothing more than an unprogrammed container, such as his New National Gallery in Berlin. These spaces are generic and do not provide a smaller increment of space within them that promotes any kind of activity.The Souks project, however unrealized, seems to address the need for the larger system to relate to smaller ones, providing several increments of architecture that can promote specific activities, while providing a larger boundary for flexibility and interchangeability within those smaller units. The Souks project is not dissimilar to the Santa Caterina market by Miralles, wherein the interjection of a new roof structure encloses parts of an existing market fabric as well as new facilities. The space is quite successful and, is in its own right, an infrastructural approach to architecture. Perhaps for an infrastructural approach in architecture to be successful it has to allow the users to operate in their familiar and customary way, while providing a series of scaled interventions that imply rather than prescribe program.


[figure 44] Model of Beirut Souks porposal


[figure 45] Plans of Beirut Souks porposal

The idea that architecture could behave as infrastructure is a significant one, but that does not however, negate the simple fact that the infrastructure, whether it be a road or a building, still has to work well. Infrastructure is in a sense the link between large systems to smaller systems, like a network of roads to the movement of individuals. Infrastructure becomes successful as such when it is no longer perceivable, but has facilitated the smaller units to thrive within it, taking it over. The smaller units, through repeated and continual productive use, then, dissolve the larger systems. The large system falls to the background and the smaller system moves to the foreground. In that sense infrastructure is a kind of enabler, enabling people, water, vehicles, power, etc. whatever the medium of the system is, to not only participate in the system but to prosper.

3. Allen, Stan. p 54-57. Peterson, Gary. “Teddy Cruz - What adaptive architecture can learn from Shantytowns”. Resilience Science. 07. March, 2008. <http://>. (8. Oct, 2009). “Before and After: Favela Bairro Projects”. Atelier Jorge Mario Jáuregui. <http://www.>. (08. Oct, 2009). “Estudio Teddy Cruz: Manufactured sites”. 20. Nov, 2008. <http://www.informalism. net/2008/11/estudio-teddy-cruzmanufactured-sites.html>. (09. Oct, 2009).


[figure 46] Manufactures Sites, Teddy Cruz

The ‘Manufactured Sites’ project by Teddy Cruz, utilizes the medium of infrastructure in a way that eventually enables a community. Cruz developed a series of scaffolding that climbs the slopes of a poor neighborhood in Tijuana. The project became an interesting cross border dialogue between Tijuana and San Diego, as scrap materials, recycling, and homes that were slated for

demolition, were all transported across the border to be purchased and used by the dwellers in the neighborhood. The scaffolding then became the structure that would support the insertion of these homes and the ad hoc building of homes via the recycled materials. This project is a specific example of how infrastructure is used as a strategy for architecture while facilitating the unique and individual character of the smaller units. Each dwelling within the system is built by individual families, with the materials they scavenge, therefore all the homes represent specific people in a matrix of variation.


[figure 47] Manufactures Sites, Teddy Cruz

Cruz’s project is also significant as it combines infrastructure with the practice of gleaning. Favela’s are more often than not, built out of scrap and scavenged materials. With this project Cruz has allowed the inhabitants of the neighborhood to live and develop in a manner that is familiar to them, but he has provided them a stable framework with which to do so. The scaffolding is a system of permanence in an otherwise semi-temporary community.

Jorge Mario Jáuregui did a similar kind of project in Rio, Brazil. The ‘Favela – Bairro’ project was an attempt to integrate a favela into the fabric of the city and transform it into a real neighborhood. The project is essentially a system of infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, sewer and water) that replaced the dirt pathways, and a series of public spaces and public amenities, such as markets, offices, restaurants, laundromats etc. The integration of this permanent system allows the inhabitants greater accessibility, increased safety, and positive places where they can live and gather. In this case, as in Cruz’s project infrastructure is simply a network or system that allows people to carry on their lives in the most basic, healthy, and productive ways.


[figure 48] Favela Bairro Project, Jorge Mario Jáuregui


[figure 49] Favela Bairro Project, Jorge Mario Jáuregui

08. systems
The Watkins building can, in many ways, be considered infrastructural. The muscular nature of its structural system and the spacious plan that is a result of its broad column grid produce an environment that is in many ways generic, however flexible and easily adaptable. Such a space is at little risk of becoming completely idle as it has a great capacity to be re-appropriated for new uses. It is in many ways exactly the kind of building that lends itself to Habraken’s “open building”, wherein the structural, service and circulatory systems are rather permanent and can become the frame for less permanent “infill” The layers of the building can be broken down as Frank Duffy had outlined as categories of a buildings longevity. Site The building itself is tucked to the South edge of the site to be adjacent to the railroad. Thus the site boasts a large front yard off Higgins Avenue. The piece of land is roughly 78m long by 28m wide, giving 2,184 m Sq. During the period when the Watkins co. occupied the building this land was used as a garden space with a gazebo for the wife of the building manager. The amount of land belonging to the site is significant given that there are almost no other industrial/commercial or warehouse type buildings in the city that have any vegetated land. Most buildings of this kind have paved any additional space that is not occupied by the building. In this regard the Watkins building is quite unique due to its proximity and relationship to the railroad and for its quantity of unencumbered green space. The original lot was divided down the center and parceled into several lots as was the lower part of the long lot. Structure The structure of the building is composed of 8” thick cast in place concrete floor slabs. The columns are cast in place concrete mushroom columns, starting at 34” in diameter on the basement level and decreasing by 2” per floor as they ascend. The structure of the building remains perfectly intact and shows little to no signs of degradation



bicycle path

water main

power lines

street light

property boundary

[figure 50] Plan of utilities / services









23 24 25 PL 41 28



[figure 51] Interior of Watkins building


[figure 52] Interior of Watkins building

[figure 53] Interior of Watkins building.

Skin The façade is a non-load bearing 6” masonry wall. Each elevation is roughly 30% glazed with single pane windows measuring 6’x7 1/2’. Services The building is fitted with two large freight elevators, both are 6’6” x 12’6”, on the south side of the building. The mechanical equipment for the elevators are

[figure 54-55] Interior elevator shafts.

located on the 9th storey of the building, which has a smaller floor plan. There are two stairwells, one intended for employees at the northeast corner, and the other for business at the southeast corner.

[figure 56-57] Sprinkler Tank, Floor scales

There is a large 7500 gallon cast iron water storage tank, located on the 9th floor. It is used to store water for the sprinkler system running throughout the building. The capacity of the storage tank could hold enough water for 250 people for one day, using 30 gallons each for showering, laundry and various sink usage. Each of the floors is also embedded with a series of 4” drain pipes, which drain down through a series of pipes connected to four columns per floor, down to the basement, where it deposits into the ground. Each floor also has cesspool catchments with trap doors.


[figure 58-59] Floor drain system.

The washrooms, utility sinks and other plumbing facilities are located along the east wall, between the stairwells. There is a pipe shaft that runs up the length of the building containing various plumbing pipes and electrical wires. The building is heated via hot water radiators, which were originally heated by two massive 6’x14’ coal boilers and furnace system located in the basement. The boiler room was fitted with large coal storage compartments, which were loaded with coal by train. The building is adjacent to one of Winnipeg’s oldest rail lines, and they would offload the coal into pits built into the loading dock on the south side of the building. Historically Winnipeg had an underground subway, beneath the railway beside the building. The cavity left behind from this system still exists next to the south wall of the basement of the building.


[figure 60-61] Loading dock beside railway.

Space Plan The interior floors have few if any partition walls. One column bay on the main level was at one time sub-divided for administration offices, however those walls have since been cut back. Stuff The interior contains no furniture, cabinetwork, shelving etc. Lighting remains utilitarian and is still intact.


[figure 62] sprinkler system.


[figure 63]septic system.


[figure 64] floor drain system.

09. fleeting moments in time and space







10. participation
Informal and ad-hoc settlements are often the product of a concerted effort by a group of individuals or even individuals acting independently within a larger whole. These environments are the product of the occupants becoming active participants in the organization, implementation and construction of their dwellings. A large portion of housing around the world are in fact built in part by those who then inhabit them.1 This reality, while it may often appear chaotic and disorganized, actually produces rather interesting and dynamic environments that more accurately reflect the needs of the occupants and are often more conducive to change. “Modernisation has meant the removal of people from decisions, as layers of bureaucracy and specialist procedures compel experts to intervene between the user and the building. These experts bring with them their own value systems that are often at odds with those of the users. A gap thus opens up between the world as built and the world as needed and desired: to see the effects of this gap we need look no further than the mass housing projects of the mid-twentieth century, when a standardised version of living and abstract notions of ‘community’ were imposed statically by a supposedly benevolent bureaucracy, rather than being allowed to grow more spontaneously according to people’s wishes”. 2 By empowering the occupant in the design and construction process, those individuals bring with them their own personal skills, dispositions and memories. The occupant is left with a greater sense of ownership over their space, and is enabled in the claiming of their own territory. “Participation is also a formative process. Residents are initiated through dialogue and interventions into becoming an active part of their immediate surroundings. They start to shape their own policies, to articulate their own voices and preferences, to organise themselves independently. By facilitating this process, we might manage to pass on tools that will allow them to re-shape their world. We learn together to ‘make do’ with the available resources”.3 What is the role of the architect in the development of participatory architecture? The architect must then become a choreographer of sorts,

1. Burdett, Ricky & Sudjic, Deyan. The Endless City. London: Phaidon Press, 2007. p 348.


2. Jones, Peter Blundell, & Till, Jeremy. Architecture and Participation. New York: Spon Press, 2005. p xiv.

3. Jones, Peter Blundell, & Till, Jeremy. p 53.

establishing procedural rules, modes of operation and frameworks within which the occupants can operate freely. In many ways the role of the architect is to provide an architectural infrastructure, one that defines both territory and boundaries, while allowing for maximum variation and manipulation.

[figure 74-75] La MéMé - Faculté de médecine

4.Ellin, Nan. Participatory Architecture on the Parisian Periphery. Journal of Architecture Education, Vol 53, No 3 (February 2000). p 178 5. Ellin, Nan. p 179.

Lucien Kroll , a follower of Habraken, is in many ways, a champion of a participatory process in architecture, which he refers to as “ethnological architecture”.4 Kroll describes this attitude to design as an unprescriptive process where the result is inevitably indefinite. “It is a process - not a procedure -[which] receives and transmits, not wanting to master everything, but to allow some things to remain obscure, apparently irrational....It is not rational, but it is reasonable. It promises, then, a much better understanding of reality that is fluid, moving and unknowable”.5 La MéMé - Faculté de médecine is a project he did for the residents of a medial school in Belgium. The students were unsatisfied by the school’s initial proposal for the project and with the help of some of the architecture students they contacted Kroll to work on the project. The students were interested in the prospect of having a role in the design of their facility and Kroll involved them in almost all phases of the project. In the tradition of Habraken, the complex was designed with a modular grid with a series of mass produced components articulating how that system can be used to produce diversity rather than

mindless repetition. Columns are set at multiples of 90 cm to promote units that will vary within that, rather than all sharing a common dimension.5 The floor slabs are unusually thick to accommodate wiring, plumbing and heating, in order to free up the floor plan and permit maximum flexibility of unit placement. The façade is composed of concrete and masonry with infill additions of timber and demountable window frames of various sizes also within a grid. The interior is then filled with moveable partitions, prefabricated sanitary units, and furniture. Kroll and his team worked with the students to develop plans for their units, therefore they all tend to embody a spatial quality and organization specific to that person, and can be dismounted and changed in the future.

5. Kroll, Lucien. Buildings and Projects. New York: Rizzoli, 1987. p 44.


6. Jones, Peter Blundell, & Till, Jeremy. p 135.

[figure 76] Residents constructing wall partitions.

“The development became not only a reflection of the many needs and aspirations of the parties, but also a record of the evolving design process. Periodically, Kroll moved staff members from one group to another, so that they could not get too fond of a particular element and assume authorship. The design process became a voyage of discovery whose end remained unpredictable, and it produced a building whose anarchic and anti-hierarchical
























[figure 77] Possible facade components.

scale 1:100





[figure 78] La Meme facade.

scale 1:150

11.23 m2

18.25 m2 11.06 m2 13.37 m2 12.4 m2 12.76 m2 12.64 m2 12.94 m2


10.51 m2

8.81 m2 13.52 m2 13.07 m2 13.54 m2 13.03 m2 13.09 m2 14.5 m2

total area: 4525 m2

[figure 79] Typical floor plan.

image flashed across the world. Contrast with the hospital next door could scarcely have been starker: unified monotony versus creative diversity”.6 The nature of the structural grid and the prefabricated movable wall panels allow the plans to be almost infinitely re-configured, given the temporary status of student residency and constantly changing flow of occupants. The facade grid and variety of infill panels and window sizes also produces an exterior condition that is manipulatable and dependent on the tastes and desires of the occupants. With this project Kroll has proved that self-generating architecture is possible, where the process takes precedent over the result. The building is then not a reflection of a particular aesthetic and ideology of one person (the designer), but rather a collage representing the needs of the inhabitants more so than an image of architecture. The building also embodies a certain incompleteness, wherein there is no finality to the façade nor the floor plan. The student residency is temporary, therefore the building anticipates multiple users and change, but also the fact that over time interior elements of a building become dated, disused and no longer appropriate. Thus the space submits to the process of time and can be constantly renewed.



[figure 80] One unit configuration.

11. narrative
The nature of an intervention on the site of the Watkins building is inherently speculative with regards to how and who might inhabit the lot. What is the demographic for an alternative community, and how do those individuals coalesce and influence architecture? A hypothetical narrative may begin to describe the potentially intricate dynamic of people and how these people come together, forming almost a movement of people that could mature either quickly or slowly. Perhaps the movement gains its beginning by those already on the site, and over time more and more people accumulate taking over more and more space, until the site is completely saturated by new occupation. It could operate like a chain where one person invites another, who invites another, increasingly gaining new residents and broadcasting itself to the public. 78 In order to procure an environment where alternative habitation can develop one would imagine the city would have to engage this development in a new way, with policy and regulation that would, in the end, benefit the larger community. One such policy would be that of allowing for temporary ownership of the site on behalf of the new settlers. When and if the occupation became large and organized enough they might be in a position to buy out the property. However, in the interim, provisions need to be put in place that encourage the occupation of a currently vacant space. Subsidizing the costs of utilities (such as water and electricity), and property taxes, could alleviate some of the initial setbacks. The donation of materials, like recycled products or excess resources, could induce construction and more permanent occupation on the site. Manitoba Hydro regularly clears the overgrown trees in rural areas where their hydro lines run. What is cleared is often quite substantial and valuable wood. Perhaps the donation of this wood could become part of the material vernacular of the occupation. One would imagine that a settlement on the site would begin as a relatively temporary construction, but as the occupants form a tighter community, and are further enabled in the development of their own dwelling and public spaces, it might start to become more and more permanent, successfully infiltrating the site, and perhaps in the end buying it out.

Eleanor is 61. She is a painter who has practiced in Winnipeg for most of her life. She lived and worked for several years in Rotterdam where she occupied a large studio space near the harbor. Eleanor lives in a modest apartment in Osborne Village and works from a studio that she shares with several other artists just North of Main St. at the edge of China Town.

Markus (34) is a sculptor. He mainly deals with works of pottery from clay, and sells his pieces at various local markets and fairs, and shares a stall with a jeweler at the Forks Market, and indoor market and craft center near downtown. Markus is recently divorced and now lives in a studio apartment near the golf dome.


Przemek and Travis are young aspiring artists, at the ages of 25 and 29. Przemek works at Video Pool, a media arts outreach center, and Travis is a recent graduate of painting. They live in a small 5 storey walk up which they use as their studio to collaborate on independent films, one of which has just been released at a local film festival. Matt (27) and Kevin (32) are members of a local punk band and currently live in the basement of Kevin’s grandparent’s place. Matt plays the drums and Kevin is the lead singer, of the band ‘Spit’, which has 3 other members. ‘Spit’ sometimes has their practices in the basement suite or in the garage during the summer, however they are increasingly becoming more and more of an imposition on Kevin’s Grandparent’s as they are getting more and more bookings and have had to step up their rehearsals.

Bobbie (27) and Candace (25) are students at the University of Manitoba and are also roommates. Bobbie recently moved from Toronto to Winnipeg to complete her PhD in Aboriginal Studies, while Candace is in her final year of her Masters of Architecture. Bobbie is planning an extensive canoe trip up North in June in order to study several aboriginal communities. She has invited Candace to come along as her assistant, to photograph the trip.


Francine is 38 and works as a server at The Dandelion Café, which specializes in local vegan dishes. In the summer Francine also participates in a food exchange program where she helps for 3 weeks of the harvest of a local farm in exchange for a vegetable and fruit hamper, which is delivered every week for 3 months. Francine lives in a flat share off Corydon Avenue with 2 other women.

Howie and his partner Karen are a retired couple both at the age of 67. They volunteer at Winnipeg Harvest, a non-profit food distribution organization, delivering food to people in need out of their sky blue, 1977 VW bus. Howie is a big blues fan and every summer in July they drive from Winnipeg to San Diego (where their 3 grandchildren live), stopping along the way to hit as many blues clubs as they can find.

Roger (47) and Doug (52) are brothers who moved out to the Red River Valley back in 1981, they are what you might call ‘back to the landers’, and sought the reprieve of the country. Both Roger and Doug operate their own mill, and barter their skills locally for food and supplies. Doug also maintains a ski and hiking trail in the valley while Roger busies himself with local handy work for extra money. Recently Doug has started supplying a small Winnipeg floor manufacturing company with wood and is often in the city helping them with installation projects.

Alan is 46 and recently emigrated from the Czech Republic to look after his mother who has been hospitalized due to an extreme case of dementia. Alan has moved with his wife Sophia and his daughter Elishka (3). Alan is a writer and previously worked at a Newspaper back home writing obituaries. He is currently working on a book of compiled unusual obits and anecdotes with a local Winnipeg Publisher.

Margo (55) and John (56), were elementary school sweethearts, who were recently reunited. Margo runs a private Healing Touch practice from her home while John teaches electrical engineering at a local college. Every week they collect their scrap fruits and vegetables and on Saturdays bring them to Fort Whyte, a community center at the outskirts of town dedicated to promoting wildlife and habitat conservation, to feed to the prairie dogs. Julia and Russ are a young family of 4. Julia (28) and Russ (30) have two sons Isaac (6) and an adopted son Oliver (1). Russ is a youth pastor at a church and Julia works part time at a greenhouse and tends to the church’s community garden. Julia and Russ have just moved from Tofield, Alberta to Winnipeg, where they rent space in the Church’s communal house, shared by 3 other couples and 4 chickens that lived in a coup in their backyard. 81

Jeff is 49. He is a millworker and has a small private practice of furniture making that he runs out of his garage. He lives in a small one-storey house in St Boniface that has been overtaken by his extensive collection of tools, small carpentry works and collection of exotic woods. Jeff lives with two German Shepherds, Oscar and Stu, and often drives out to his friend’s farm to let the dogs run and to buy fresh farm eggs.

12. contingency
Architecture can be thought of as an inherently contingent discipline, and to refute that notion is to deny the indeterminate and unpredictable reality of the built environment. As much as architects would like to impose order and beauty on the environment, the reality is that architecture is influenced, distorted and dependant on many other things. something that occurs or exists only as a result of something else that depends on something else. Dependence upon chance or factors and circumstances that are presently unknown.1 not depending on or qualified by anything else. Having total power and authority. Completely unequivocal and not capable of being viewed as partial or relative. Complete and in no way conditional on any future evidence or behavior.2 82 “The struggle for order is not a fight of one definition against another, of one way of articulating reality against a competitive proposal. It is a fight of determination against ambiguity, of semantic precision against ambivalence, of transparency against obscurity, clarity against fuzziness. The other of order is not another order: chaos is its only alternative. The other of order is the miasma of the indeterminate and unpredictable. The other is the uncertainty, that source and archetype of all fear”.3 Everything we build is entirely contingent on the people that inhabit it. Projects that anticipate contingency or at least aren’t self-referential, rely on something outside of themselves to give them more meaning. For instance the ‘Lightning Field’ in Western New Mexico by Walter de maria, in an installation of 400 highly polished stainless steel poles arranged in a grid throughout the landscape.4 The project relies to a large extent on the atmospheric qualities of the environment. The presence or absence of sunlight transforms how one perceives the project and the relationship the installation has with space. At dusk when the sun is rising and lighting the sky with colour the rods appear to glow, other times when the sun is bright and relentless the rods almost disappear into the desert. The project is not absolute and isolated in its environment, but is responsive and interacts with something greater than itself.



3. Till, Jeremy. Architecture and Contingency. September 2007. Field: a free journal for architecture, Vol 1, Issue 1. October, 2009. file/2007_Volume_1/j%20till.pdf. p 6.

4. Baker, Kenneth. The Lightning Field. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008. p ??

[figure 93] Lightning Field, New Mexico.

[figure 94] Lightning Field, New Mexico.

The acceptance that architecture must be cognizant of a larger system of human and environmental influences is an acceptance of the indeterminacy of space. Indeterminate is defined as a phenomenon of the unknown, indefinite and imprecise. It is something lacking a predictable result or outcome. Yeoria Manolopoulou, a professor at the University College London, describes indeterminate space as spaces of chance, and the idea that our environment is made up of a series of coincidences, where time and space collide at any given moment illuminating the poetic beauty of chance. “Chance may mean an event proceeding from an unknown cause and thus the equivalent of ignorance in which we find ourselves in relation to the true causes of events. But it may also mean the unforeseen effect of a known cause. Although we go about our everyday lives and to a certain extent produce space, with a view to fending off the unknown aspect of existence, we often note a furtive enjoyment related to the unpredictability of chance”.5 Built form is arguably incomplete, it is continually evolving and subject to manipulations and deformation from its occupants, the weather, time etc. The indeterminate embodies a sense of entropy, whereby the original can be manipulated but may never return to its original state. Such as the sand of a dune, where the wind continually deposits and removes its matter, it is infinitely evolving its form and displacing it elsewhere. This notion that energy cannot be destroyed, but simply transferred. is at work here. Perhaps an understanding of this can then inform a kind of architecture that could become the juncture between the absolute and the contingent. Is it possible to be both constant and variable? Informal settlements embody a certain degree of unpredictability, as they tend to be built spontaneously and rather haphazardly, at least compared to traditional settlements. Informal communities also develop somewhat parasitically and irrationally, growing bigger and higher every year. How might this natural inclination of development be anticipated by architecture in a new community in Point Douglas?


5. Manolopoulou, Yeoryia. The Active Voice of Architecture. September, 2007. Field: a free journal for architecture, Vol 1, Issue 1. July, 2009. file/2007_Volume_1/y%20manolopoulou. pdf. p 2.


13. ephemeral
Traditional ideas of property, territory and private land become void in the realm of vacant spaces, and are subjected to the improvisation of the public, nature and decay. To begin a narrative or scenario for inhabiting the long lot of the Watkins site one looks to notions of temporal and ephemeral construction as a strategy to begin the process of possession. The first critical move of ownership is the materialization of possessions, objects, the things that people bring with them to signify their existence. One begins to establish a dialogue of ownership by the simple act of inscribing oneself onto the landscape. Drawing a line in the sand, painting your name on a wall or etching your footprint into the dirt are basic gestures that humbly occupy space and denote territory. Occupation of such a site often occurs in stages, from these simple gestures towards more permanent installations of habitation. Ephemeral architectural strategies can be classified into three distinct categories; works that are seasonal or time-based, ones that are mobile and transportable, and works that are transitional, meaning, they establish an initial stage of a future development. mobile / transportable “Needs for temporality can result from culture (nomads), constraints (squatting, homelessness), fluctuation (age-related mobility, social climbing, growing households, displacement), lifestyle (career changers, climbers, dropouts) or in the context of desires for security (temporary use of public space with protection from certain uses, privatization of public space)”.1 Los Angeles has utilized a politicized strategy of semi-permanence to house the homeless. Dome Village is a microcosm of society where the homeless can find stability in a communal setting. The domes overtake a parking lot near the busy Harbor Freeway, and are intended to draw the attention of passing motorists to the issues of homelessness. The domes are made of durable fiberglass and measure 21’ in diameter and 12’ tall. They are composed of 21 panels which bolt together and can be easily constructed in under 4 hours with two people, a step ladder, screwdriver and wrench. Each dome is inhabited by either 2 individuals or a family, with some of them occupied by washrooms, laundry and kitchen facilities and communal rooms.


1. Heydn, Florian & Temel, Robert. Eds. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces. Berlin: Birkhauser, 2006. p 12.


[figure 95] Dome Village, Los Angeles

[figure 96] Dome Village, Los Angeles

time based In the Summer of July 2005 architects Peter Fattinger, Verinika Orso, and Micheal Rieper began the construction of an accessible sculpture titled ‘Add On’ in Vienna. The substance of the installation was an infrastructure that would support 20 platforms ranging in height up to 20 meters, which contained custom made modules that interlock with prefabricated parts.2 Each module was to represent different conventional programs of everyday life, combined and altered in new ways in a public setting to induce a new perspective of their functions. The whole engages the social space of a busy urban square and imbues a sense of flexibility within the individual units. “Because the entire world of objects in this country constitutes as property from one end to the other, this civil right is the true constitution of uses in the 88

2. Klanten, Robert & feireiss. Eds. Space Craft: Fleeting Architecture and Hideouts. Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag, 2007. p 197.

[figure 97] Add On, Vienna.

[figure 98-99] Module units within Add On, Vienna.

3. Heydn, Florian & Temel, Robert. Eds. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces. Berlin: Birkhauser, 2006. p 27.

city and in architecture. Use is, in any case, not a quality that is inscribed in things, buildings or spaces but rather a social relationship in the triangle of property, possession and right of use. In that sense, use is a more or less flexible relationship within which people can make various uses of one and the same thing or, expressed more generally, can relate to this thing in different ways - and thus pursue different interests”.3 transitional Transitional works can function in various ways, they can be an interim and temporary use of a site, they can provide the foundation for a future installation or development, or they can be somewhat indeterminate, subjected to changes throughout time. The RDM docklands of Rotterdam were once home to a vibrant shipyard that employed thousands of people. Like many docklands throughout Europe they have been subjected to the post-industrial era where information industries no longer required such immense physical space. The city of Rotterdam is currently devising plans for regeneration of the site and in the meantime has allowed the abandoned site to be used for art installations that both promote the space and generate interest.4 Now termed ‘Follydock’ the site offers yearly competitions for artists, architects, and landscape designers etc. to design an architectural folly and install it on the site. The folly is a conceptual tool intended to produce works that act as icons for the site to re-engage it with the fabric of the city.



[figure 100] Follydock installation, Rotterdam


[figure 101] Follydock installation, Rotterdam

The follies are temporary installations, inhabiting the site for a year, and are eventually dismantled. The significance of the project is that with a series of small scale interventions a vacant industrial site is given new life, however temporary, utilizing the pocket of time from its total disuse to it eventual reinhabitation.

5. asp?n=Gardens&x=5&y=39.

Rottenrow Gardens in Glasgow, designed by landscape architect Max Gross was originally intended to be a temporary use of a future campus building. The site was to be vacant for about 5-6 years, and the university felt that the space could be used in the meantime as well as set up the site for the future building.5 Once the garden was constructed and put to use it was so well liked by students and faculty that they decided to allow it to become a permanent space. The potential for an interim use of a site to lay the foundation or make formal and spatial gestures that would later serve a future construction is a particularly interesting concept. A semi-permanent construction of a site that is subject to change at any given moment is given additional legitimacy if it can become adaptable and valuable to future users. A certain degree of open-endedness is assumed with such a spatial move, whereby such a construction would need to satisfy the needs of the current users while either being flexible to change or an integral component for future development. 91

[figure 102] Rottenrow Gardens, Glawgow.

ice shacks
Time based works can also be seasonal where they surrender to the conditions and circumstances of a particular environment. The land art movement of the 1970’s and the works of Robert Smithson engage in temporal and site-specific installations. Smithson’s ‘Spiral Jetty’ is a formation of mud, salt and basalt that is continuously being submerged and revealed by the rising water level. The project submits to the natural tendency of the lake system. Not unlike the ‘Spiral Jetty’, the presence of ice fishing villages are subject to the behaviors of the natural environment. The ice fishing village is a unique cultural phenomenon whereby the conventions of property and territory are challenged. The river or lake undergoes a critical transformation with the onset of winter, changing from water to solid, essentially becoming temporary land. No one owns this ice land, as technically it is not really land, thus one is able to possess it simply by being there. 92 “In a culture whose myths regard as sacred the ownership and possession of land, ideas, technology, and material goods, it is extraordinary to encounter a

[figure 103] Ice shack.

[figure 104] Ice fishing village, Quebec.


[figure 105] Ice fishing village, Manitoba

situation where ‘land’ disappears and reappears seasonally and, hence, cannot be consigned to the cultural forces that shape our current condition of eroded social function. This landscape does not conform to the customary means and methods of territorial ownership; it is a veritable tabula rasa”.6 The practice of ice fishing that we have become familiar with today can be dated back to the early part of the last century on Lake Huron in Lower Michigan. Russian immigrants took to the frozen landscape and made their own fishing spoons of scrap iron.7 Their success with the local Perch drew the attention of locals who adopted their practices of handmade fishing tools and makeshift windscreens. Since its inception ice fishing has always remained as a rather informal and industrious activity, wherein fishers often make their own tools and rods of scrap metals, wooden dowels and broken fishing rods. They tend to appropriate common domestic objects for use in their practices, such as milk containers to hold their tackle, pickle buckets for seats and fish collectors, or kitchen utensils for catchers. The ice shack is particularly evident of this phenomenon of ‘making do’ and the identity that is developed amongst ice fishing communities. The ice-house, regardless of its material value is at the center of the ice fishers operation, it plays an integral role in the creation of place. “A portable shelter bespeaks a nomadic lifestyle, a lack of commitment or rootedness. And to some folks, a way of thinking a portable shack is no more satisfying than a Bedouin’s tent is to a sense of home. They’ll abandon the advantages of mobility for the chance to set down roots on a piece of property; a claim to a place for at least as long as the ice remains frozen”.8 The ice shack is more often than not an amalgamation of scrap or salvaged materials that when strategically assembled form a humble yet comfortable shelter. “The ice angler’s version of the country retreat begins with a basic plywood shack with a hole in each corner of the floor. Add a propane stove for warmth and a couple of beds. A cook stove and a porta potti make long-term habitation more tolerable. A bit of insulation, some wood paneling pulled out of your basement when you remodeled your rec room, and a remnant of garish shag carpet makes it homey: Slap on a coat of paint left over from a recent project. A bright colour lifts up the spirits. It also helps you find the house in a whiteout”.9

6. Kronenburg, Robert. Transportable Environments 3. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2006. p 67.

7. Griffin, Steven. Ice Fishing: Methods & Magic. Merrillville, Indiana: ICS Books Inc, 1985. p 108


8. Kennedy, Layne & Breining, Greg. A HardWater World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do It. St. Paul, Minnesota:The Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2008. p 66.

9. Kennedy, Layne & Breining, Greg. p 66.


[figure 106] Ice shack typologies constructed of; salvaged wood and aluminum doors, plywood sheets, osb sheets, painted wooden siding, stretched vinyl fabric, various dimensional lumber, corrugated metal roofing, extruded fiberglass roofing, reflectors, car wheels, scrap aluminum and steel, tar shingles, plexiglass, salvaged windows, vinyl siding, plywood door.


[figure 107] Govitz’s ice shack.

Mike Govitz a resident ice fisher of Beaverton, Michigan, takes great pride in the building of his ice shacks, and has constructed quite a few of them which his friends and fellow fisherman often inherit. “He started with a basic floor plan – the size of the freezer lid – then dissected doors, using pieces of frame and panel to flesh in the sides. He used no specific pattern – just tacked on material where it was needed. He used sheet metal screws to secure everything, then applied silicone caulk to each seam to make the whole arrangement windproof. He took the tin box to a vanconversion shop and had the interior spray-foam insulated. In all but the coldest weather only a gas lantern was needed to heat it”.10 The ice shacks, at the very least, meet the most basic requirements of shelter, they protect from the wind, provide warmth via insulation and wood stoves, are often connected to electricity or small generators for light, and are equipped with provisions to cook, read, watch t.v, wash your hands, play cards, etc. The

10. Griffin, Steven. p 114.


[figure 108] Interior of typical ice shack.


meager interiors and objects that make up the space of the shack illustrate the character and the nature of the ice fishing lifestyle. The ice shack is the private and secluded respite for the ice fisher; a space where he/she has total freedom from the public and urban world. Because it exists beyond the realm of the neighborhood and the city, on temporary land, the rules of habitation and of ones personal expression are liberated. Certeau writes of one’s private space as being the reflection of ones character and daily routines; “This private territory must be protected from indiscreet glances, for everyone knows that even the most modest home reveals the personality of its occupant. Even an anonymous hotel room speaks volumes of its transient guest after only a few hours. A place inhabited by the same person for a certain duration draws a portrait that resembles this person based on objects (present or absent) and the habits that they imply”.11 The arrangement of furniture, the colour and quality of materials, one’s possessions, books and newspapers, the sources of light, the care or negligence of ones space, are all indications of a “life narrative”. The interior space of the ice shack is no less symbolic of the modest and makeshift subculture of the average ice fisher. The ice shack has become increasingly popularized and has become a rather clever medium for personal and artistic expression. The culture and community that such an activity has fostered further illustrates the free and uninhibited nature of the ice fishing population. Art shanty projects is an annual competition held on Medicine Lake, Minnesota that invites artists, musicians, architects, poets, scientists, craftspeople, actors, etc, to participate in the design and construction of ice shanty structures that will engage the public and the arts. Shanties vary from being a place to view the stars, to a puppet house, or a giant dice in which to play cards and games, or a dance shanty, which plays music and inspires spontaneous dancing.

11. de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life, Vol 2: Living and Cooking. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998. p 145

[figure 109-110] Dance shack, art shanty project

[figure 111] Art Shanty Project at night.


[figure 112] Ice Dice, Art Shanty Project.

These temporary communities emerge every winter, and are dismantled every spring. The have a peculiar existence as they recreate a community year after year, clearing roads in the ice, sometimes erecting lampposts and power lines, and trucking out modest shacks arranged at the whim of each fisher. The habitat is rather unconventional, as they are fairly meager and satisfy basic needs of shelter, and their size is limited to what can be pulled by a vehicle. These fishing villages also tend to establish unique organizations of public and private space, where fishers are free to locate themselves as close or as far as they like to one another. However, fishers tend to locate next to friends or relatives and usually organize themselves in clusters nonetheless as they all want to take advantage of the good spots. Thus these villages are self-organizing and are the product of individual desires and attitudes towards their own social and cultural needs.



[figure 113] Hypothetical shack community

14. scavenging
Many cities contain areas that are a gleaner’s goldmine, creating a subculture of scavengers, that plunder and salvage all they can for vacant and abandoned buildings. “Caught within a bizarre cycle for survival, scrappers depend almost entirely on the abandonment and neglect of Detroit’s landscape. They have found ways to enter and remove metal from the majority of vacant homes and industries, often using only orphaned shopping carts to transport their spoils. They work constantly, barehanded with makeshift tool, pushing their loaded carts for miles to the nearest buyer”.1 Metal is the most valuable material to the scrappers, good quality copper (after burning) can sell for up to $0.75 per pound, while aluminum sells for roughly $0.45 per pound.2 Hidden and informal economies and marketplaces emerge, with buyers and sellers going about their daily routines, each respectfully trying to make the most of their modest enterprises.

1. Oswalt, Phillip. Shrinking Cities Vol. 1: International Research. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2005. p 470.

2. Oswalt, Phillip. p 473.


[figure 114] Scavenged building, Detroit.

[figure 115] Landfill scavengers, Bidston Moss Landfill, UK.

[figure 116] Landfill scavengers, Bidston Moss Landfill, UK.

Those in need resort to survival tactics like scavenging, an urban practice that pillages both vacant buildings, garbage bins and landfills. These tactics can be productive ways to develop a character of materiality for architecture. Given the site of the Watkins building, being located amongst a series of vacant buildings and demolition sites, there is a potential for material to be employed as a way for the community to easily access building materials to begin claiming the site. Piles of brick, rebar, steel beams, old windows and doors, chairs, furniture, wood paneling, etc. These materials are all leftovers of buildings on their way to total extinction.

3. Heydn, Florian & Temel, Robert. Eds. Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces. Berlin: Birkhauser, 2006. p 9.


[figure 117-118] Able Wholesale, Higgins Ave.

“The most important conceptual basis for starting a temporary project is a doit-yourself mentality of the city’s residents”.3 A do-it-yourself mentality is most certainly part of re-appropriating salvaged materials for new uses. The ice shacks and other informal communities rely on salvaged materials and their own handiwork in the construction of their shelters, thus these tactics can be learned and implemented to foster an architecture that is particular to that given location.

4. Oswalt, Phillip. Shrinking Cities Vol. 2: Interventions. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2006.

Scavenged materials open up new possibilities and alternative applications of rather conventional products. The Hotel Neustadt festival in Germany took advantage of recycled interior apartment doors and transformed a simple object; the door, into a catalogue of new uses. Scavengers harvested 450 mass produced P2 interior doors from buildings that were either vacant or slated for demolition.4 The doors were converted into beds, shelving, minature golf


[figure 119] Possible uses of doors.

courses, bar furniture, bmx course ramps, honeycomb labyrinths, etc. One could imagine that any salvaged or traditional building material could be re-purposed like the doors, developing a material language, or catalogue of various building systems from which potential occupants could choose.


[figure 120] BMX bike ramps made of recycled doors.


15. urban agriculture
Farmadelphia is the winning proposal by New York’s Front Studio for the “Urban Voids: Grounds for Change” competition held by the City Parks Association of Philadelphia. The proposal sought to remediate the copious amount of vacant lots and abandoned buildings within the city of Philadelphia by introducing community based urban agriculture. “The architectural impact of Farmadelphia has the potential to create an entirely new way of viewing abandoned structures. Instead of seeing vacant land as an obstacle, Farmadelphia views empty space as full of possibilities. Not limited by traditional definitions of urban typology, an abandoned townhouse could easily be converted into a greenhouse for orchids. An unoccupied warehouse becomes a barn for newborn calves. By reclaiming the vacant structures for new, vital and integral uses, Farmadelphia transcends stereotypical thinking regarding blighted urban fabric”.1 The intention of the urban injections of agriculture is to reintroduce greenspace to the urban environment, provide employment for the community and allow residents to reclaim a neglected neighborhood. The proposal included a specific method of operation and land assessment, wherein a city block must be at minimum 60% vacant in order to be converted to farmland. Existing structures are to be renovated and repurposed, and existing residents are encouraged to participate in the transformation of an urban neighborhood to a hybrid of farmland and residential uses. Guidelines of operation: 1 If a block exhibits greater than 60% vacancy, whether abandoned buildings or empty lots, then the block shall be converted into farmland. Farmland may consist of pasture, livestock grazing, cash crops, orchards, or wind farms 2 Owners of occupied structures within the converted farmland block shall have the option of remaining on the farmland and taking ownership of adjacent fields or relocating to nearby rehabilitated structures. Owners remaining within the converted farmland block will be provided with financial incentive in exchange for accepting some responsibility for farming the adjacent land. 3 Abandoned buildings within the converted farmland block shall be reimagined as ancillary farming support structures. Some



[figure 121] Farmadelphia.


[figure 122] Farmadelphia.


potential new uses for existing vacant buildings include: greenhouse, stable, barn, silo, livestock shelter, etc. 4 Where 2 blocks facing one another exhibit greater than 60% vacancy and the street separating the 2 blocks is considered a minor thoroughfare, the street between the blocks may be converted into farmland for contiguous parcel farmland. 5 If a block exhibits 25% or less vacancy, whether abandoned buildings or empty lots, then the vacant parcels shall be rehabilitated for habitable use. Owners displaced from the farmland conversion shall have first priority to the renovated structures. 6 Side-lot vacancies or 1 vacant lot or structure surrounded by occupied structures on both sides shall be ceded to adjacent building owners. Building owners directly adjacent to a side-lot vacancy shall have first priority for taking ownership of the vacant parcel provided they accept responsibility for its maintenance. 7 If adjacent building owners do not claim adjacent parcels, 3 or more block owners may acquire the property for use as a private garden, playground, etc. provided they accept responsibility for its maintenance. Potential city blocks are categorized into parcels of green space depending on their percentage of vacancy and its appropriateness for farmland. According to their guidelines, land, falls into 1 of 4 categories; 1-farmland (pasture, field, crop), 2- block owners public garden, 3-private yard (side lot), and 4- existing structure. Existing structures can either remain as is or become renovated and transformed into a component of the agricultural network as an indoor greenhouse, or livestock facility, or it can be renovated as housing. An assessment of the Watkins site with a similar logic illustrates that the majority of the land is at least 60% vacant and potentially available for farmland. There are few existing structures, where the inhabitants could be encouraged to participate in such a transformation, and there is already a public green space on the site, which in some ways has already begun the remediation of a vacant lot.

farmland - crop

block owners public garden

private yard side lot

existing structure


[figure 123] Availability of agriculture on Point Douglas site.
farmland - crop block owners public garden private yard side lot existing structure

community gardens
The Berkeley Community Garden at the South end of Boston is located on a site formerly occupied by townhouses in a fairly dense urban neighborhood. In the 1960’s in an attempt to renew the urban fabric, the city demolished the brick townhouses, a trend which was exceptionally pervasive in that area of Boston. In an attempt to save community space members of the local Chinese community began adopting the abandoned space to cultivate gardens. The gardeners were rather aggressive at claiming the space and would often cut off the thorny branches of the Olive trees of Berkeley to protect their plots from vandals and theft. The site is now protected land and is owned by the South End/Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust, a non-profit who keeps the land in trust to prevent any future development. The space is maintained by donations and financial support from the city, which allowed the garden to be completely refurbished in the 1980’s, which re-divided the plots into the 160 garden plots that exist today. Plots are equipped with an infrastructural system for water and irrigation embedded beneath the ground. Artist Christina Bechstein and landscape architect Klaus Loenhart received a grant for their “Growing Fence” project to create a cohesive face to the garden space, provide a sound barrier from the busy nearby traffic and become an artful installation for art, plantings and other garden amenities. The garden plot sizes are approximately 2.5 x 4 m and cost $40 per plot per year with an additional $30 per year membership fee, which goes towards maintenance costs and communal services such as garbage collection, water use, and insurance. If one were to superimpose the Berkeley garden allotment onto the farmland space, as assessed previously, there would be 260 plots available.


[figure 124-125] Berkeley Community Garden.


16. synthesis
When considering the site of the Watkins building in Point Douglas, certain issues regarding its intervention take precedent over others. Given the relative vacancy of the space and of the neighborhood, one must come to terms with the fact that such a site is in some ways rather fragile as it exists on the precipice of either extinction or reintegration. It is on an unstable middle ground, positioning it within a kind of neutrality, in limbo, where the slightest push could send it either way. An intervention on a site with this predisposition must then consider its permanence first and foremost. Informal settlements often operate within the realm of a certain degree of autonomy and temporariness, but often as time goes on, they become more and more embedded in a social and urban network. This site could be treated in such a way. One must ask if an intervention should assume a level of temporariness, or rather should it become a strategy to foster permanence over time? The reality remains that informal architecture is somewhat contingent on economy, flows of people, culture, and changing urban conditions, therefore to deny any flexibility would oppose the natural tendencies and inclinations of such environments. In that case the introduction of infrastructure becomes explicitly relevant, as infrastructure can be thought of as a flexible yet organizational gesture that can be both subjective and determined. What is critical, when thinking of how architecture might intervene is how it can synchronize two seemingly disparate intentions, indeterminacy and stability, in such a way as to engender architectural moves that can operate independently and perhaps radically while remaining accountable to a larger operational frame. The opportunities of an infrastructural approach to the site may resolve the desire for change, fluctuation, and growth while embedding it with definition and limitations, so that control and stability remain. What is critical when looking to successful precedents of informal settlement is its degree of consistency. Kroll’s seemingly random facade, Cruz’s structural scaffolding, the open city’s spaciousness and materiality, and Allen’s continuous surface, provide an over arching frame, aesthetic or organizational strategy that allow the projects to be both recognizable yet random and manipulatable. What becomes critical is that the two be reconciled rather than become counter-productive. One must work with the other, simultaneously. What is interesting to consider is the infrastructure that already exists on the site as a way to inspire a strategy for further investigation. By identifying


the utilitarian attributes of the site one might be able to engage with the space in a manner that continues the tradition of the site in some way. In many ways the bones and guts, which some might argue are rather trivial, may actually disclose a way to interject on the site in a poetic way. Henri Lefebvre believes that it is in fact the banalities of life, and as an extension of that - the space of the city, that offer the most insightful explanations of human life and the urban condition. “We are caught in a hybrid compromise between aesthetic spectacle and knowledge. When the flight of a bird catches our attention, or the mooing of a cow, or a shepherd boy singing, we think we are being very clever and very concrete. But we are unable to seize the human facts. We fail to see them where they are, namely in humble, familiar, everyday objects; the shape of fields, of ploughs. Our search for the human takes us too far, too “deep”, we seek it in the clouds or in mysteries, whereas it is waiting for us, besieging us on all sides. - All we need do is simply to open our eyes, to leave the dark world of metaphysics and the false depths of the “inner life” behind, and we will discover the immense human wealth that the humblest facts of everyday life contain”.1 The position of the research thus far has treated the site as a space which embodies the potential to be treated as a unique landscape within a neighborhood, and within a city. As such that site can be conceptualized and distinguished as a space where unconventional liberties can be taken. The space is dying, dwindling, and slowly slipping away, thus drastic measures can be legitimized and ad hoc and alternative solutions become the opportunity for such a space to be given a fresh chance. What makes this particular condition exciting is that it demands solutions that are radical and perhaps fantastic, as the site is almost so neutral that it can accept almost anything. In many ways what is needed is a radical disturbance, rather than a simple elegant series of alterations. If one considers the capacity of the site, given the robustness of the existing building and the spaciousness of the landscape, it is absolutely a container. It is simple and in many ways generic, wherein those characteristics result in its ability to accommodate a range of programmes, building types and people. When one examines the precedents of alternative communities, Christiania, the Open City, Les Frigos, one is able to identify that they exist on


1. Lefebvre, Henri, Critique of Everyday Life, Vol 1. London: Verso, 1991. p132.

the premise of opposition. Their manifesto, if you will, is to counter the norms of contemporary society, and how that society treats property, individuality, community, privacy, social amenities etc. Thus, what would such a community in Winnipeg be counter to? Gentrification, commercialization, demolition perhaps, vacancy? This question is imperative when questioning the character and identity of the potential community, and will continue to be investigated.



works cited
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Film The Gleaners and I. Dir. Agnés Varda. Perf. Bodan Litnanski, Agnés Varda, François Wertheimer. 2000. DVD. Zeitgeist Video, 2002.

list of figures
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 124 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 13 14. Michigan Central Station, Detroit 1997/1998. Photographed by Stan Douglas, Image source: Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 1. Hatje Cantz, p 133. Downtown, Ddetroit 1997/1998. Photographed by Stan Douglas, Image source: Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 1. Hatje Cantz, p 130. Gordon Matta Clark’s “Fake Estates”, Queens, New York 1973. Image source: artland/20030425/index.htm Hausehalten project, Lützner Straße 30, Leipzig 2005. Image source: summary.asp Hausehalten project, Lützner Straße 30, Leipzig 2005. Image source: summary.asp Jean Francoise Millet, “The Gleaners”, 1857. Image source: htm People gleaning, France 2002. Image source: Film by Agnes Varda, “The Gleaners and I”. People gleaning, France 2002. Image source: Film by Agnes Varda, “The Gleaners and I”. People gleaning, France 2002. Image source: Film by Agnes Varda, “The Gleaners and I”. Christiania, Copenhagen 2007. Image source: N01/390773754 Christiania, Copenhagen 2007. Image source: File:Christiania_Street.JPG Les Frigos, Paris 2003. Photographer Pierre Laugier, Image source: commons. Hallway inside Les Frigos, Paris Image source:

15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

N08/498543941/in/photostream/ Restaurant inside Les Frigos, Paris Image source: N08/498543941/in/photostream/ Artist studio inside Les Frigos, Paris Image source: N08/498506332/in/photostream/ Point Douglas, Winnipeg 1881. Image source: histr300px.jpg Vacant Olgivie Flour Mill, Higgins Ave, Winnipeg Oct 2009. Photographed by Margo Reimer. Junk car lot, Higgins Ave, Winnipeg Oct 2009. Photographed by Margo Reimer. Demolition site of Able Warehouse, Higgins Ave, Winnipeg Oct 2009. Photographed by Margo Reimer. Former site of Winnipeg Cold Storage, Higgins Ave, Winnipeg July 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning. Waterfront Drive, Winnipeg, 2008. Image source: category/downtown-winnipeg/ 90 Annabella St, Winnipeg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning 90 Annabella St, Winnipeg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Section of site Drawn by Larraine Henning Plan of Site Drawn by Larraine Henning Favelas of Caracas Image source: ka/2232726109/ Hybrid House Exhibit, Marjetica Potrč Image source: Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 2. Hatje Cantz,


29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 126 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41.

p 473. Open City, Valparaiso, Chile. Image source: Published in Valparaiso School, open city group. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, p 64. Open City, Valparaiso, Chile. Image source: Published in Valparaiso School, open city group. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, p 81. Open City, Valparaiso, Chile. Image source: Published in Valparaiso School, open city group. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, p 59. Open City, Valparaiso, Chile. Image source: Published in Valparaiso School, open city group. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, p 60. ‘Plug in City’, Archigram, 1973. Image source: Archigram. New York: Praeger Publishers, p 39. ‘Blow out Village’, Archigram, 1973. Image source: Archigram. New York: Praeger Publishers, p 61. ‘Continuous Monument’, Superstudio, Image source: must-see/ ‘Continuous Monument’, Superstudio Image source: Superstudio. Rome: Centro Di, 1978 , p 7. Arcosanti, Paolo Solari Image source: wp-content/uploads/2009/06/arcosanti.jpg Stadium conversion, Osaka, Japan. 1998. Image source: uploads/2008/08/osakastadium11.jpg Lifespan of building layers Image source: Published in, How Buildings Learn. London: Penguin Books, 1995, p 13. Diagram of ownership control, Habraken Image source: The Structure of the Ordinary: Form and Control in the Built Environment. Boston, MA: MIT Press, 1998, p 84. Base structure axonometric, Diagoon house

42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54.

Image source: Published in A&U, April extra edition, (1991), p 68. Diagoon houses, Herman Hertzberger, 1970. Image source: Published in A&U, April extra edition, (1991), p 68. Plan variations, Diagoon house, Herman Hertzberger Image source: Published in A&U, April extra edition, (1991), p 70. Model of Beirut Souks project, Stan Allen, Image source: Published in, Points and Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City. Princeton Architectural Press, p 71. Plans of Beirut Souks project, Stan Allen, Image source: Published in, Points and Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City. Princeton Architectural Press, p 764-65. ‘Manufactured Sites’ project, Teddy Cruz, Image source: php?id=79984_0_23_0_C ‘Manufactured Sites’ project, Teddy Cruz, Image source: Favela Bairro Project, Jorge Mario Jáuregui, Image source: after.html Favela Bairro Project, Jorge Mario Jáuregui, Image source: after.html Plan of site utilities & services, 2009. Drawn by Larraine Henning Interior of Watkins building, silver gelatin print, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Interior of Watkins building, silver gelatin print, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Interior of Watkins building, silver gelatin print, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Freight elevators, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning


55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 128 62. 63. 64. 65-73 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79.

Freight elevators, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Fire sprinkler system, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Fire sprinkler system, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Floor drain, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Floor drain pipes, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Exterior loading dock, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Exterior loading dock, Watkins bldg, 2009. Photographed by Larraine Henning Sprinkler system axonometric, Ink on vellum, 2009 Drawn by Larraine henning Septic system axonometric, Ink on vellum, 2009 Drawn by Larraine henning Floor drain system axonometric, Ink on vellum, 2009 Drawn by Larraine henning Interior of Watkins building, 2009 Photographed by Larraine Henning la MéMé - Faculté de médecine, Lucien Kroll, 1970. Image source: la MéMé - Faculté de médecine, Lucien Kroll, 1970. Image source: Facade panel modules, la MéMé, Lucien Kroll, 2009. Drawn by Larraine Henning Elevation, la MéMé, Lucien Kroll, 2009. Drawn by Larraine Henning Typical floor plan, la MéMé, Lucien Kroll, 2009. Drawn by Larraine Henning Possible unit plan, la MéMé, Lucien Kroll, 2009.

Drawn by Larraine Henning 80-92 Portraits of characters, various dates Photographed by Larraine Henning 93. Lightning Field, Walter de Maria, New Mexico Image source: lightning-field-and-tourism/ 94. Lightning Field, Walter de Maria, New Mexico Image source: jlocke/3756896336/ 95. Dome Village, Los Angeles, 2006. Photographed by Joel Sternfeld, published in http://www. 96. Dome Village, Los Angeles. Image source: Domes.html 97. Add on, Vienna-Brigittenau, 2005. Image source: http://www.mobilejugendarbeit. at/?b=20&show=fotos&id=136 98. Add on, Vienna-Brigittenau, 2005. Published in Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces, Birkhauser, p 209. 99. Add on, Vienna-Brigittenau, 2005. Published in Temporary Urban Spaces: Concepts for the Use of City Spaces, Birkhauser, p 209. 100. Folly dock, Rotterdam, 2007. Image source: 101. Folly dock, Rotterdam, 2007. Image source: 102. Rottenrow gardens, Max Gross, Glasgow. Image source: asp?n=Gardens&x=5&y=39 103. Ice shack Image source: 104. Ice shack community, Quebec Image source:



Image/decouvrez/activites/sports_plein_air/chasse_peche/tq_003004_g.jpg 105: Ice shack community, Lockport, Manitoba. Image source: plinton/2177774892/ 106. Ice shack elevations, 2009. Drawn by Larraine Henning 107. Govitz’s ice shack, Minnesota. Published in A Hard-Water World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do It. The Minnesota Historical Society Press. p 53. 108. Interior axonometric of ice shack, 2009. Drawn by Larraine Henning 109. Dance shack, 2009. Image source: 110. Dance shack, 2009. Image source: 111. Art Shanty Project at night, Medicine Lake, Minnesota, 2009. Image source: 112. Art Shanty Project at night, Medicine Lake, Minnesota, 2009. Image source: 113. Hypothetical ice shack structure, 2009. Drawn by Larraine henning 114. Scavenged building, Detroit. Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 1. Hatje Cantz, p 471. 115. Scavengers at Bidston Moss Landfill, Birkenhead, 1991 Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 1. Hatje Cantz, p 480. 116. Scavengers at Bidston Moss Landfill, Birkenhead, 1991 Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 1. Hatje Cantz, p 483. 117. Partially demolished Able Wholesale building, Winnipeg, 2008. Image source: 118. Partially demolished Able Wholesale building, Winnipeg, 2008. Image source: 119. Possible reuses of interior doors. Halle-Neustadt, Germany, 2003 Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 2. Hatje Cantz, p 456. 120. Skate park made of recycled doors, Halle-Neustadt, Germany, 2003. Published in Shrinking Cities Vol 2. Hatje Cantz, p 457.

121. 122. 123. 124. 125.

Farmadelphia proposal, Front Studio, Philedelphia, 2003. Image source: Farmadelphia proposal, Front Studio, Philedelphia, 2003. Image source: Agricultural capacity of Point Douglas site, Winnipeg, 2009. Drawn by Larraine Henning Berkeley Community Garden, Boston. Image source: Berkeley Community Garden, Boston. Image source:


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