The Lasting Meaning in Ephemeral Architecture

By Lancelot Coar.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will present the results of an experiment in architecture, engineering, and art in the form of a month-long nomadic spectacle in mid-western Canada. Responding to the cultural, economic, and geographical boundaries that limit many rural and urban communities’ access to contemporary art, five artist run centers called for proposals to use a 1976 Airstream trailer to carry art performances, contemporary films, and art making workshops to several communities in Manitoba. The project presented in this paper describes how the ongoing material research by the author, exploring the architectural and cultural potentials of temporary structures, was used to create a unique venue for the presentation and participation of art through an inclusive community-based building event. In this project, design was not carried out by the architect alone, but by the community who was invited to help construct curving, flowing structures that bare little likeness to traditional architecture surrounding them. This paper will describe the value of the ephemeral within the perceived concreteness of the everyday, and how architecture and design are not just descriptors of a place, but a performative and communal act of place making through the temporary events that give rise to their form and meaning.

Keywords: Ephemeral, Temporary Architecture, Community Design, Collaborative Design, Art, Experimental Structural Design

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.667-678. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.938MB).

Prof. Lancelot Coar

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Lancelot Coar is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, and a resident researcher at CAST. His work at CAST focuses on innovative uses of conventional building materials in order to develop new architectural and structural potentials. For the past four years, Coar has collaborated with the farming community of Clearwater, Manitoba in his architecture design studios. The projects resulting from this studio range from conceptual design proposals to fully realized unbuild-design-build projects in the community. His work with Clearwater has been awarded the Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Fund Grant, the University of Manitoba Presidential Outreach Award, and an Honorable Mention for the Manitoba Conservation Excellence in Sustainability Award. Lancelot Coar received Bachelor of Science degrees in Architectural Engineering and in Civil Engineering at Drexel University, and later received his Master in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. His work has been featured in a wide range of publications and exhibited in museums and galleries in Paris, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Winnipeg. He is also a founding partner in Co|Re Collaborative and a member of the performance art collective The Abzurbs.


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