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Title: Nomadic architecture: refuge on Ontario Crown Land
Authors: Da Silva, Simão
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2021
Abstract: The history of Crown Land and its evolution from Magna Carta to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms illuminates the handling of boundaries and mishandling of people. For cultures that practiced oral traditions, the paper-based treaties raise questions of validity and coercion.1 The original inhabitants did not own the land, but instead fostered a deep relationship with it.2 In a similar way today, someone could live on much of the same land without ownership of it. Crown Land is managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and it occupies 87% of Ontario, equating to 39 million hectares. Two of its ten Land Use Designations - General Use and Enhanced Management Areas - have unique potentials because of their rules for overnight accommodation. Inhabitants may camp for free on a given site but must move 100 meters every 21 days to remain on Crown Land.3 Theoretically, one could live permanently in these circumstances as long as they comply, and a mobile building could satisfy this scenario. The motivation to do so is stimulated by the COVID-19 pandemic that normalized working and schooling from home for many Canadians. 'Zoom cities' are remote places where real estate has been consumed for people to isolate themselves. Often waterfront properties and for a wealthier class, this has provided a new outlook on where and how people live and work. In addition, housing prices have inflated dramatically over recent decades, further precluding the possibility of owning property for young adults. For many, the pandemic was the turning point for people to leave Toronto for affordable real estate and access to green space. This thesis bridges these seemingly separate occurrences, illustrating an alternative means of living where owning property is renounced, yet one maintains economic viability. Tethered, but remote. The architecture necessary to achieve this must be nomadic and leave no traces of its existence. This approach to a practice that is synonymous with permanence reflects the historical narrative as much as the necessity for lightness in the future. Lightness in this context operates at several scales: in weight; in possession and ownership; and ecological impact. The building and its user would exist symbiotically with their site, embracing a closed-system approach that accounts for all of their energy, food, and waste. It is driven by its context, shaped by topography, local light, and tectonic potentials. This thesis offers a practical and technical approach yet is also speculative in nature, looking to new technologies and reflecting on its social context. This nomadic lifestyle questions our society's unsatisfiable quench for material accumulation. The ability to deny this indulgence in order to better understand what we need as beings may bring us to be happier individuals, content with an existence that unfolds at a slower pace.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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