FOR THE FOREST, SEE THE TREES

HOW CAN ARCHITECTURE ENGAGE WITH ISSUES BETWEEN THE LOGGING INDUSTRY AND THE LANDSCAPE? 

ADA SAKOWICZ
M.ARCH


This thesis has explored how architecture and art can engage with some of the issues and landscapes that the Canadian logging industry produces. This project attempts to merge the value systems reflected in both eco-tourism and the logging industry by producing a new hybrid eco-circuit within the small town of Stewart, BC. This circuit threads a hiking trail through a series of designed logged and reforested cutblocks. Dotted with architectural structures, the circuit provides views of not only many birds and natural features, but of unique landscapes that exemplify sustainable logging practices.

Rather than seeing trees as solely as commodities, they ought to be seen as very ancient parts of our identity that fortunately still form a large part of our environment. BC stands entirely as a product of its topography, isolating geography and also as a result of its economic growth through the exploitation of its rich natural resources. It has been precisely this contrast of civilization (in the form of community and intellectual life) with natural wilderness that has distinguished British Columbia.

As these Canadian environmental, societal, and architectural values emerge through the historical analysis of art and architecture, it becomes evident that these lie in direct opposition to the kind of systems that allow extractive operations like logging to continue in the manner that it does. The increasing surge of new value-added wood technologies do however posit a favourable outlook for the future of the lumber industry. Yet tree extraction remains host to a myriad of issues, and while these are complex, there are ways that architecture can begin to engage in these issues to propose solutions.

The division between environmental values and the logging industry is primary here. In the same way that Dom Hans van der Laan saw architecture as mediator between man and nature, here it can mediate between man’s values in nature (here, specifically forests) and industry (logging/wood). In this context, architecture and art can mediate between our culturally valued forests and wood industry.

committee:
Beryl Allen
Fionne Byrne
Leslie Van Duzer [CHAIR]
Verena Griess