Inuit culture adheres to a belief in the synchronization of space and time as a result of their nomadic tendencies. These temporal connotations have contributed to the memoryscape of Inuit culture; however other than contemporary Inuit art, this memoryscape lacks physical presence. Furthermore, as a result of the harsh climate in Winnipeg, people spend a lot of time indoors therefore lacking the intimate link to the land that Inuit culture thrives upon. This general sense of entrapment is revealed not only culturally, but also in the form of geology. Tyndall stone, a dolomitic limestone quarried from the Ordovician Red River Formation, is a geological example of how elemental processes register time. The stone is comprised of stratified layers of bedrock that have captured various other elements over time that in turn have become fossils, or traces of time. The addition to the Winnipeg Art Gallery aims to register time by capturing elemental processes in order to establish a stronger connection between space and time symbolic of Inuit culture.
The registration of diurnal, cyclical and linear time will be made evident through the building’s materiality, orientation and programmatic/circulatory organization. Canadian bluestone will be used to convey similar characteristics of the tyndall stone, since this stone too is formed by the deposition of material at the earth’s surface and within bodies of water. The transition of this stone into corner glass connections is an attempt to erode away at the structure in order to not only harvest and capture sunlight, but also to provide expansive views and openings into the landscape, thereby establishing a direct link to the land. The main circulation volumes of the building follow the path of the sun, where as you ascend light fenestration and the absence of light (shadows) are in extreme contrast, and as you descend with the sun, light becomes more of an atmospheric condition. Programmatic elements are strategically organized around these volumes in coordination with their time of operation and desired conditional response to light and the surrounding context. As the program calls for an extension to the existing roof garden, extensions of planes from the interior will extend to the exterior as roof gardens in order to register cyclical or seasonal changes in the landscape. These seamless connections will further reinforce the connection between interior and exterior, where space and time become synchronized.
As a contextual response, the Inuit Art and Learning Center will be imbedded within the existing Winnipeg Art Gallery, but will gradually open up to the surrounding context through both its form and materiality. As an occupant of the addition, your place in the landscape relative to the cardinal directions becomes apparent through the absence or presence of light. Through the observation of Inuit art and physical interaction with elemental processes such as light and landscape, the Inuit Art and Learning Center will be a place of retreat, where although you are caught inside, there is a direct connection to the outside allowing space and time to become one.
Tech Comm collaboration with Amanda Kronk || Vince Synder || Fall 2012
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