Ballast, 2013


Much like the Toronto waterfront the old and gritty loading docks, silos and rip rap have been replaced with bike paths, boardwalks and condominiums. I thought of a particular text that Buckminster Fuller had written about the origins of the roof. Fuller traced the origin of the roof to the skeleton of the whale. As he saw it the cavity / skeleton of the whale was the model on which early wood boats were made – think about the spine, ribs and planking of a boat like the anatomy of a whale. And early explorers used their upturned boats as ideal cover/shelter in new terrain and thus the inverted boat became a precursor to the modern roof - beams, planks and ridge board.

So with this transformation in mind I became keenly interested in the Great Lake freight boats, Lakers, as they are called that have essentially been made obsolete in the wake of the changing demographic of the down town core. According to Fuller this was the natural progression from the natural -> utility -> settlement. The ship, a relic of an earlier time, has yielded to buildings like the one it stands before and is left to the viewer whether Ballast is rising from or sinking into the ground below. My hopes are that the architecture of Ballast will also create a social space, where residents of this area can contemplate these issues and children can play and discover.

Globe and Mail Review