Nestled amongst the 1920s homes of Westdale, a leafy neighbourhood in Hamilton, Ontario, is an outlier with a storied past. Hambly House, whose sweeping white form rounds a street corner not far from the Cootes Paradise wetland, seems to sail past the half-timbering, faux-stone cladding, and steeply pitched roofs of its neighbours. The streamline moderne gem, a rare example of the style in Ontario, was built in 1939 by local architect Edward Glass and named for its first owner, Jack Hambly. It recently received a thoughtful second-storey and rear addition by Hamilton firms DPAI and Toms + McNally Design.
The creation of a reader, through writing, is first and foremost the creation of oneself. As I write, I read, then rewrite. This feedback loop constitutes both a generative process and the deciphering of an idea that already seems to exist, but must be uncovered. The pen tentatively taps paper, the cursor blinks, and each word I write pushes uncertainly towards something that must be figured out, the something I may not know until I begin to write.
PROCESS: Thesis in the Making, an exhibition on the highly intensive and individual journeys undertaken by masters students at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, will run September 10-14, 2015 at the BRIDGE Centre for Architecture + Design.
I will be showing a series of photographs from a trip I took to northern Ontario and Manitoba in August 2013 that greatly influenced my thesis work and helped shape my perspective that research could go beyond the simple gathering of information.
The opening reception will be held on Friday, September 11 at 6 pm following Zak Fish’s thesis defence on the development of BRIDGE at 2 pm. The exhibition, organized by Paniz Moayeri, Sneha Sumanth, Tristan Van Leur, and Zak Fish, will close on September 14 at 6 pm with a guest talk.
The review will be published in Issue 127 of C Magazine, with the theme of “Poetry.” The issue launch and a poetry reading will be happening Thursday, September 24, 7-9 pm at Erin Stump Projects, 1450 Dundas Street West, Toronto.
A similar negotiation emerges between the “testimonial” art of IRS survivors and the work of those portraying residential schools “vicariously,” though it is difficult to draw a hard and fast line between these two modes when considering the intergenerational impacts of the IRS system. […] Negating the idea of pre-existing, fixed space, these artists continue the very personal struggles of survivors by influencing the understanding of the residential schools as continuously present and problematic, and by facilitating processes that create new spaces by disrupting those of the colonial project.
This year’s Waterloo Architecture student exhibition, FORM + FLUX, will run April 20 to May 16, 2015 at Design at Riverside and feature work from undergraduate and graduate students produced in the last year. I’m happy to be showing a poster based on my Master of Architecture thesis, “‘Don’t Let Fear Take Over’: The Space and Memory of Indian Residential Schools.”
The exhibition opening will take place at Design at Riverside (7 Melville Street South, Cambridge – inside the UW School of Architecture) on Monday, April 20 at 6:30 pm.
I’m excited to be presenting at the upcoming launch of Scapegoat 07: Incarceration along with Chris Lee, Eileen Wennekers, and Margarita Osipian, happening at the BRIDGE Pop-Up Storefront (60 Main Street, Cambridge) on Saturday, March 28 at 2 pm.
My article Ghosts of Prisons Past: A Prehistory of the Toronto Detention Centre was featured in this issue of Scapegoat. I will be speaking about the process behind writing the piece and first coming into contact with prison abolition. Please join us for what is sure to be an engaging afternoon of discussion.
Check out the BRIDGE website for more details.
The Indian Residential School (IRS) system in Canada directly affected 150,000 Indigenous children who were taken to state-sponsored and church-run institutions to separate them from their families and cultures. During the century and a half leading up to around 1970, over 130 IRS were scattered throughout the country. The role of architecture in this genocidal system is a crucial, but overlooked aspect of its realization. In the first decades of the twentieth century, the Canadian government became increasingly involved in building and rebuilding the IRS, as a dedicated arm of the Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa became a centrally controlled apparatus of architectural production. Passing from utopian space to evolving memory, the architectural remnants of the IRS system tell many stories, which are among those that need to be heard and acknowledged by contemporary Canadian society as part of its troubled relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Through archival research, documentation, narrative, and critical analysis, explorations of four former IRS sites configure this thesis, each providing a lens on the space and memory of this difficult and often traumatic past. Located in Ontario and Manitoba, they were designed, fully or in part, by the little-known R.G. (Roland Guerney) Orr, Chief Architect of Indian Affairs from 1921 to 1935. Mapping architecture to ideology, I examine the development of the Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontario in the legal and political contexts of Indigenous-Canadian relations. At the abandoned Birtle IRS in southwestern Manitoba, the institutional intricacies of this broad view come into focus through a critique of the architectural program and its intentions. Nearby, at the site of the demolished Brandon IRS, the heap of leftover debris calls forth questions of collective memory, explored through conventional representations and their transformations in the art of survivors and post-residential school Indigenous artists. I consider the archive and its role in bringing forth the future at the former Shingwauk Hall in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, now the site of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, an Anishinaabe post-secondary institution, and Algoma University. Finally, I return to the Woodland Cultural Centre, located next to the Mohawk Institute building and whose staff are currently reimagining the former IRS based on feedback from the community. Rather than resting on conclusions, this thesis probes these difficult histories as an opening up towards the future, propelled by the past but open to spaces of divergence.