Acre Architects: Who do we think we are?

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Who do we think we are?

Driving to work this past week, we listened to Jian Ghomeshi’s opening essay on CBC’s Q, which both surprised and saddened us to hear the news that Lake Winnipeg had earned a new title from the Global Nature Fund (GNF), as the World’s Threatened Lake of 2013. The GNF spokesperson says that ‘it is disappointing, as it does not really fit with our image of Canada.” Where Jian adds: “Come to think of it, it doesn’t really fit with of our own image of ourselves as an environmentally conscious country.’

This resonated for us because in our architecture we often explore how we define ourselves here in Atlantic Canada, and a connection with nature is something we believe is deeply embedded in the way we see ourselves. This seems emphasized working in a province whose tourism ads capture a psyche of a place intimately connected to nature. Over photos of jaw dropping terrain, the add captions read: “Hike 29,000 km of untouched coastline.” and “Where is this place, exactly? It’s about as far from Disneyland as you can possibly get.”, and our favorite as new parents: “Every mother has a favourite.
Even Mother Nature.” Newfoundland & Labrador celebrates, and is celebrated by this very real ideal of its bond to the environment – so how we move forward and build in this rural outport feels crucial.

When Shaun first approached us to design an eco-lux hotel, he talked about his earlier ideas of building the greenest house in Newfoundland. When you meet Shaun, and Shelby for that matter, you see that their hearts are in-line with not only for striving to create a sustainable project for a community, but on a larger scale for the environment.

Destined as an eco-lux hotel in a remote part of the world, the question of what is eco-luxury becomes more essential to understand with the ever-growing awareness of the realities of our environmental condition. It is becoming more evident that the idea of luxury is linked with a simpler ideal of quality of life and the ability to reconnect with nature, an ideal that even in a place like Canada famed for its natural diversity, may too often be taken for granted.

Maybe having a time zone half an hour ahead will allow Shaun and Newfoundland to lead the charge to reconnecting with our environmental heritage key to Majumder Manor.

Monica Adair and Stephen Kopp

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