Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The design called Aboiteaux at Caribou Harbour, uses the Acadian Aboiteaux as a parti symbol and creates a liminal space between ocean and land. Travellers can stay a night or the whole summer at one of its floating accommodations and are enabled to experience the rising and lowering of tides through minimal interventions such as a stair rising or lowering from the floor as the tide moves the platform accommodation up or down from the shoreline. Angled entrance allows for a compression of space before entering a wide opening and freed area to view the surrounding landscape from panoramic view.
The structure itself though simple allows for a massing proportional to function and can act as a structural mechanism allowing it to support the entire complex with electrical energy and solar power. Acting as an entrance and energy storage the opening mass is anchored to the shoreline and can integrate the alternative energy sources into a series of arrays spread across the shoreline to produce a new street face for the Harbour. In a move away from land foundations typical in most construction the actual living spaces are floated out into the harbour to create dialogue with land and ocean landscapes, linking the traveler to nature in a new and fresh way. It is a space that is designed to allow for a maximum enjoyment with the inspirational vistas and fluid movements below. Above the entrance an outdoor patio space can be used to enjoy the southern forested and agricultural landscape with local wildlife never too far away. It can be imagined awaking to a crisp summer morning and walking out to the patio space to view the majestic deer and her faun grazing on the dew covered grass.
Located at internodal space along the new street face a series of wharfs jut out into the harbour with docking space and floating market spaces to allow fishermen and transoceantal travel to dock and share their latest harvest.
Creating a liminal space and place of destination from ambiguity. Returning to a place that doesn`t have anyone waiting for them....
“Antonine Maillet's novel, Pelagie-la-Charette, which won the Prix Concourt in 1979, is rife with tall tales, fantastic fables, and lessons of "History," all of which have come through an opening as small as a clapper in the aboiteaux: the mouth of a storyteller (7). The aboiteaux-clever one-way valves in a dike that once characterized the shores of Acadie-function as metaphor for a trickle of people surviving deportation (in 1755), exile and return (in 1764), and a century of silence before being recognized as a people at "Ie premier congres" in 1881 (Le Blanc 27) such that there are now over 300,000 Acadians in Canada. The gap at the centre of each aboiteaux constitutes the space where change occurs: fresh water becomes salty, a weak trickle becomes the strength of the tide. These gaps represent liminal space, the '"in-between space' in which cultural change may occur," and this exile and pilgrimage represents a time of ambiguity and change (Ashcroft et al., Post-Colonial 130). But survival of a people is not simply the survival of its stories. Maillet's novel lets readers experience, by taking them to the feet of an accomplished storyteller, that sometimes survival is a releasing of the storyteller's hold on the details of an old story so that it may flow with the present times. And the clever storyteller can mark changes, enabling her listeners to remember the old version, the new version, and the event for which the change occurred. In the novel, a good deal of argument occurs regarding "what's authentically old" (Maillet, Pelagie 68), and such argument invites readers to examine the terms of authenticity as well as the distinctions between fiction and "History" (3), which is capitalized in the novel as if she were a character who needs the life breathed into her by a storyteller.”
“To understand just who is talking, and from which century, requires active listening, as readers imagine themselves, by turns, on the pilgrimage in the eighteenth century and at the feet of the storyteller in the twentieth. The novel's several narratives comprise an "'invention' of a collective past" for a people whose sacred centre, its identity, has had to become storytelling itself (Pache 64).
Graeme Wynn offers a fragment written by a French visitor to Port Royal in 1699 that chronicles the complex system of the Acadian aboiteaux, saying, "five or six rows of large logs are driven whole into the ground at the points where the tide enters the Marsh, & between each row, other logs are laid, one on top of the other, and all the spaces between them are so carefully filled with well-pounded clay, that the water can no longer get through. In the centre of this construction, a Sluice is contrived in such a manner that the water on the Marshes flows out of its own accord, while that of the Sea is prevented from coming in" (qtd. in Wynn 47). While open, the clappers of the aboiteaux create a gap-a liminal space between farmland and sea-in which fresh water is transformed to sea water, flowing waters to tidal waters. But for Maillet, the aboiteaux offer the complex metaphor of transition and pilgrimage that her narrators require: just as water trickles back to the sea, altered from fresh to salt water along the way, so people trickle back to their lands after The Expulsion, their identities detached from the lands they knew, and their stories altered in the process. The image is also gap, space, state of ambiguity, and transition, and, as anthropologist Victor Turner puts it, the "'no place' of a society" (qtd. in Tucker 97). In identifying a space as liminal, Turner refers to the "midpoint of transition in a status-sequence between two positions" (237), saying that one's transition through it is characterized by three stages: "separation" (232) or detachment from the group; a state of ambiguity "betwixt and between all fixed points," where the subject "passes through a symbolic domain that has few or none of the attributes of his past or coming state"; and a re-entering of the social structure. Scattered such that, according to
Colonel Charles Lawrence in 1755, they would be "out of power to do any mischief" (qtd. in G. Griffiths 27) and detached from "amputated Acadie, a land that existed only in memory, those Acadians who assembled along the sides of Pelagie's cart to travel north were in a state of ambiguity" (Maillet, Pelagie 37): what made them Acadian if not Acadie? No society awaited their return and re-entry; no fixed point was going to present itself without Acadians creating or inventing one.”1
The key to the architectural intervention is indeed the need for a place to be created for the dispersed. It is a gathering point. A place of collection. The architecture will function as a way to mitigate the land and sea functions of travel. It can house a place between light and darkness. It is a manifestation of the mythic content invested in this landscape.
1 Slemon, Jane. 2003. Liminal space of the aboiteaux: Pilgrimage in maillet's pelagie. Mosaic 36, (4): 17.