Our parti focuses on two approaches to land division: one accounts for access to the river; the other devised with lack of regard for inhabitants.
The narrative is organized as a linear experience: context (viewing lens); conflict (cutline); climax (observation platform), and the current day (family garden).
Design is inextricably linked to social and environmental conditions. To inform a culturally sensitive and environmentally appropriate solution, we examined local design vernacular.
Perhaps no other object is as symbolically important to or evocative of Métis culture and identity as the Assomption sash, or ceinture fléchée.
The viewing lens introduces visitors to the central message—a land dispute—through a design that incorporates form, material, didactic content, and the landscape.
The wooden liner provides an armature for interpretation: a structure to provide support, and a trope to represent the long linear seigneurial land plots.
Viewing lens elevations
The viewing lens (top left) and elevations (top right). Sections on lower row.
Wooden panel system
Slats are connected by timber battens on 45° angles—front and reverse. The battens act as structural elements limiting the size and quantity of mechanical fasteners.
Slats as metaphor
The slats—metaphorically a river, trail, and trade route—are also a subtle allusion to the ceinture fléchée. The acrylic river: an element of foreshadowing.
A material palette of weathering steel, stone, wooden slats, and screen-printed panels in primary colours minimize maintenance and evoke themes of permanence.
A cut-line framed by the viewing lens stresses the connection with the river and river-lots, and emphasizes the notion of land as a primary character.
Floating over the landscape—overlooking the East Village and the river—the structure is comprised of two weathering steel bodies connected by a stage.
Viewing platform section
Stairs allows access to the first chamber (stage East), where a vertical opening directs the visitor’s gaze back to the viewing lens along the cutline.
One panel introduces the early days of Batoche; another tells how this former wintering area became a chosen place to put down roots.
The view planes are purposeful: ahead (stage West) is obscured by the second steel chamber; to the north are the remains of Batoche’s East Village.
Far from overt, the three ‘stages’ of the platform respect the Metis’ relationship with the land by providing views to the land (North and East), water (South and West), and sky.
All that remains of the village are foundations and cellars. The rail allows the visitor to engage in imagining these buildings in the landscape.
The chamber celebrates a thriving culture. A 5.3m timeline starts at the floor, and projects skyward to suggest “forevermore” and an infinite future.
The Métis flag is an infinity symbol on blue, representing the unity of two cultures, and faith that the Métis culture shall live on forever.
The family garden is organized within a swath of Saskatoon Berry hedgerows, set in 2m increments they form a scale representation of the Métis river lots.
Trade route playground
The trade route playground is another dimensional map that demonstrates how goods and people would have moved between communities across the Canadian Northwest.
Traditional Métis recipes
Evocative of 18th and 19th century posters— intended to be photographed and shared via social-media—panels provide modern recipes for 19th century Métis meals.