Metrics and Margins: Envisioning Frameworks in Indigenous Architecture in Canada
Architecture as a discipline is proving powerful in its ability to express Indigenous culture. The act of creating built form unites dialogue from multiple disciplines including: the environment, economics, natural sciences, Indigenous Knowledge, place, geography, history, community engagement, placemaking, placekeeping, sovereignty and artistic expression. Can the typical design process, consisting of a modest amount of ethnographic research and a few community engagement sessions, grasp the complex relationships between the natural, historical and social realities within contemporary Indigenous culture? This chapter will review three projects—The Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre, the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre and Thunder Bay Spirit Garden—through a lens of Catalysts in Indigenous Architecture (place, kinship, transformation and sovereignty); Indigenous Architectural Outcomes (cultural, environmental, political, economic, and social); and metric systems such as the Te Aranga Māori Design Principles. Scholars cited include: Matunga, Doshi, Cajete, Jojola, Smith, Pallasmaa, Malnar, Vodvarka and Kovach.
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