Toronto architects get their hands dirty
Build lookout near Brigus; inspire redevelopment of lighthouse trail
Michael Rosada stands in the community centre in Brigus, proudly holding up the inside of his forearms. The light skin is scuffed and scratched from carrying rocks and moving branches
It’s not the image you might expect from a city boy who recently completed a degree in architecture at Ryerson University in Toronto. In reality, you would expect professionals like Rosada to draw up the plans and hand them over to engineers and contractors for the actual construction work.
But Rosada, along with five of his fellow graduates and two architects from ERA Architects Inc. in Toronto, had no qualms about getting their hands dirty during a recent week-long visit to Brigus, one of the oldest European settlements in North America.
The group used plenty of brute strength and ingenuity to construct a lookout platform just outside of the community, along an old trail to the historic lighthouse situated at a place called North Head. The lighthouse has been in operation for well over a century, and was designated a federal heritage building in 1990.
It was part of a project called Culture of Outports, developed by ERA in collaboration with its Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal. The centre is a non-profit research organization formed in 2009 to conduct research to further knowledge about the creation and renewal of sustainable urban, suburban and rural environments in Canada and elsewhere. The project also had the support of TD Bank.
It was the first of three such projects which will be undertaken in this province in the coming years, though future projects have not yet been identified.
The group arrived in Newfoundland on June 12, and spent several days getting acquainted with Brigus and other points of interest on the Avalon Peninsula. They started designing and constructing the platform a few days later. It is located about a 10 to 15 minute walk from the community, measures four feet wide by 30 feet long, and is painted a bright red. It was built using local building methods, including cribbing similar to those used in the construction of wharves. And in another tribute to the uniquness of Brigus, the group also constructed a dry-stacked stone wall, similar to those seen in the region.
From the platform, visitors get a breathtaking view of Brigus and much of Conception Bay.
“This was possibly one the best experiences of my life,” said Rosada, whose mother is from Stephenville Crossing.
How did this group end up in Brigus?
Going over plans for a lookout platform just outside Brigus are, from left, Ryerson University architecture graduates Michael Rosada and Andrea Vettoretti, architect Andrew Pruss of ERA Architects Inc., in Toronto, and Brigus town councillor Lorne Youden.
Members of the Culture of Outports group use rocks to fill a “crib” for a looktout platform near Brigus last month.
Members of the Culture of Outports group move a “crib” into place.