ARCH 425: Team Kathryn Gustafson

[SHIFT]ING is 1 of 11 installations by Associate Professor Elise Shelley’s ARCH 425 students. ARCH 425 is a 4th year course at Waterloo Architecture that investigates the modern designed landscape in connection with nature, social issues, and environmentalism.

Location: rare Charitable Research Reserve, Site 17

Group Members:

1 Cheung Hou Ting Anne
2 Gauchan Rakshya
3 Khan Anam
4 Shahi Sheida
5 Xu Ying


 As part of the Common Ground Project, we chose our site based on the natural conditions and elements that it possesses. Its unique location of being half way up a hill gives it incomparable connection with its surroundings. Seeing the construction of the North house and the unique compositions of the natural elements that we were able to receive from our points of view while exploring the site, we decided to let these observations generate our proposal. With the intentions of both renewal and sculptural art in mind, we wanted to introduce only materials vernacular or replenishing to the site to retain minimum intrusion to the natural habitat as well as possibly revitalizing existing conditions.

“It’s not about flowers. It’s not about emptiness. It’s about shape. In every design, there is a shape: a bulge, a curve, a splay, a riser or just a gate that defines that landscape as having substance all its own.”
- Kathryn Gustafson.


Using vernacular materials such as sticks
and grass to serve as cushion and to
elevate the berm, we shifted elements of
the existing site to achieve our result. We
then brought in soil and red mulch to give
impact to our project as we bring new life
and nutrients to the plot.
We expect that in the next few months
and year to come the “circles” will flourish
as a result.

The experience of entering the project
brings a few surprises where the project
is actually discovered as its modest
imposition on the landscape by no means
advertises itself in anyway.

Photographs Provided by the Artists Courtesy of Waterloo Architecture.

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