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narrative operations manual

TENUOUS JOURNEY narrative operations manual

Dustin Sharrow Advisor Ralph Glor Chair Frank Fantauzzi

Prepared For:

University of Manitoba

Faculty of Architecture Department of Architecture

May 2011

Tenuous Journey (narrative operations manual) by Dustin Fanni-Sharrow is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit by-nc-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA. Previous spread: World Aeronautical Chart D-41, 1981 (detail). Photos by author unless Apologies for any omissions.


for all those trying to keep their shit together


Acknowledgements Many people have supported me in the development of this thesis over the past four years. I genuinely appreciate it. You know who you are. Thanks go to my family for being there every of the way. Ron, you taught me the values of work and making things; Lyd, you taught me to critically and to never apologize for being myself; it's not right that I look up to my little brother, do for many reasons.

step hard think Trav, but I

To my studio critics Nada, Peter, Neil and Ralph: The past four years have been a journey in their own right. It was a privilege being on board with each of you. I owe a special thanks to my best friend Jacquie for simultaneously putting up with me and letting me steal so many of her great ideas.


"Take what is useful and develop from there." Bruce Lee, The Tao of Jeet Kune Do

About this thesis The oft-stated architectural qualities of durability and stability are futile when architecture is subjected to the passage of time. As a philosophical starting point, entropy is a process which dissolves patterns, destroys constraints and accelerates its own progression. Friction, rusting, weathering and wearing all break down the technological order. However, changing programmes and shifting sites ensure that architecture will be in constant flux throughout its life cycles. This thesis will approach architecture through the engagement of time and will unfold through adaptive iteration, improvisation, and working with contextual and material resource constraints specific to time and space/location. In the spirit of entropy, this project becomes more complex as its architecture is uncovered through a fictional narrative that begins with a real event in Churchill, Manitoba, and has as its goal the completion of a previously abandoned journey to Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut.


About this manual Its purpose This manual describes the creation of the accompanying stop-motion film in both literal and fictional terms. While the film is arguably the culmination of the thesis project, it is informed directly by the process of making described in this operations manual. The opposite is also true. Just as the 'language' of the printed document is limited in what it can describe, the same is true

of any media. The lesson here is one that holds true for the thesis as a whole - that with limited means comes the opportunity to employ creative tactics in the pursuit of something more than the sum of its parts.

it exists somewhere between reality and fiction. You may find within this manual contradictions and misinformation. It offers up few, if any answers, and doesn't take itself too seriously. In short, it is a work in progress.

The intent of this manual is to document the thesis as an architectural body while describing a method of working that is open-ended and adaptable. Like any theoretical work,

Using this manual This operations manual exists somewhere between technical guide and fictional literature. It is divided into sections which present textual, photographic, and illustrationbased information, each attempting to describe the architectural process of the Tenuous Journey at different scales of engagement. In each section you will encounter several aspects of the work simultaneously, based on a prior understanding of the narrative context (see Narrative section).

2. DESCRIPTION Background The North America of the early 2010s parallels that of the early 1970s: despite efforts to the contrary, urban centres are decaying as residents leave for the suburbs; oil and energy security is an ongoing concern; the economy is in recession (or stagnation); war has divided the population. But just as those same conditions in the 1970s led to a flourishing of artists commenting on the conditions around them, now is the time for builders (architects and non-architects alike) to take stock, evaluate, and reformulate their way of working to address these same realities. In our multiplural world, narrow

and systematic approaches to architecture have become outdated.

and building, maintenance and repair assumes an ongoing, ad hoc procedure.



In the late 1960s and early 1970s, artist Robert Smithson described the idea of de-architecturization, a concept which confronts architecture as unavoidably entropic . For the citizens of Churchill, the larger context and location of this proposal, this de-architecture is a legitimate building method: At the Churchill Flats, roughly twenty homes have been built (or more accurately, are being continually built and rebuilt) using scavenged materials. When resources are scarce, wasting materials is not an option

Architectural improvisation conjures the handyman, who, unlike the engineer, is a generalist, capable of performing several duties, and typically with tools not intended for the task at hand. The handyman's tools are not specialized to relate to his current endeavour, nor any specific endeavour, but are the result of the accumulation; the handyman keeps whatever tools and materials may be handy for unspecified future projects. As architectural forms reflect their maker and the system (and era) by which

Necessity is the mother of invention. This crashed Vickers airplane was repurposed as an ice tractor in Antarctica.

2. DESCRIPTION they're made, the handyman's constructions are likely to be cobbled together. While these works are created piece-meal and thus lack the formal clarity of an architecture conceived as a whole, they can also be easily adapted to address sudden change because they are without pretence and are unlikely to be treated delicately.

Entropy Concepts of monumentality and permanence are inextricably associated with architecture, yet those which resist adaptation risk being demolished or abandoned. The reality, at odds with the idea of a static, permanent building, is that architects cannot fully anticipate a building's future function. Architects are not in the business of imagining the subtle but complex changes taking place over the longer term. To its users, a building's age can be a blessing and a curse, as the process of ageing can be linked to interactions within the building's ecosystem. For a building in the sub-Arctic context of Churchill, Manitoba, this means being particularly sensitive to the temporal scale of day-to-day human activity, as well as to the surrounding site including its geology, permafrost, proximity to saltwater, wind, relationship and proximity to flora and fauna.

Miss Piggy. Churchill, MB.

Miss Piggy The physical starting point of this project is the crash site of a Curtiss C-46 cargo airplane, located 2/3 of a mile from the Churchill Airfield. Nicknamed Miss Piggy because according to local legend it once hauled a load of pigs, the aircraft has been resting at its current location since November 1979. While none of the three crew on board were killed, the cargo load of a snowmobile and several cases of soda never made it to their apparent destination at Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut, some 550 kilometers north. According to the Flight Safety Foundation, no official record exists of Miss Piggy's load or destination on that fateful day. The starting point of a quasi-mythological narrative thrusts this proposition and its architecture forward.


Before her crash, Miss Piggy hauled cargo all over the world. Built for the United States Air Force in 1945, this Curtiss C-46F went on to fly for a total of 13 commercial airlines in addition to her previous military duty in the Philippines. (Complete history available at

Below: Curtiss C-46 Commando patent drawings.

2. DESCRIPTION To the World




Miss Piggy is a found object which discusses several architectural notions including the scavenging and reuse of materials; building techniques; a technological intrusion, literally and figuratively, into the land; a physical remnant of the past and a substrate for future tales. Based on evidence obtained at the site, some materials have been plundered and reused for other purposes. This informal economy describes a way of acquiring building materials for later reuse. Such materials are not regarded as waste but as a resource: why purchase new, when free materials are there for the taking? Churchill is a frontier town, a place where asking forgiveness is preferred to asking permission. Local residents deal with architectural entropy through ad hoc construction, fulfilled expediently and without delay. Ad hoc construction is self-determined, each builder being able to create a personal environment out of impersonal materials and assemblies in their own image: a method of building that predates modern materials and assemblies, and is familiar to the indigenous population of the north. While Miss Piggy was once a commercial cargo aircraft, it is now a social gathering place near the beach. It may no longer be able to fly, but Miss Piggy is far from the end of its useful life.

Above: The western shore of Hudson Bay is littered with crashed airplanes, including four C-46 Commandos. (Image created by author using Google Earth software) Right: In the area of Churchill known as the Flats, more than twenty homes have been built using scavenged materials. The example at right is home created from a school bus and at least two sheds. The structure is sited precariously close to the river and requires constant refurbishment with parts supplied from other deteriorating structures around town. (Photo by author)

2. DESCRIPTION 2. context

2. DESCRIPTION Suggested Readings Back, G. (1836). Captain Back's Journal: Narrative of the Arctic Land Expedition to the Mouth of the Great Fish River and Along the Shores the Arctic Ocean in the Years 1833, 1834, and 1835. London: John Murray. Douglas, G. (1914). Lands Forlorn: A Story of an Expedition to Hearne's Coppermine River. New York: The Knickerbocker Press. Eber, D.H. and PITSEOLAK. (1971). Pitseolak: Pictures Out of My Life. Montreal: Design Collaborative Books. Hanbury, D. (1904). Sport and Travel in the Northland of Canada. London: Edward Arnold. Jarrett, P. (2007). The Color Encyclopedia of Incredible Airplanes. London: DK Adult. Pike, W. (1892). The Barren Ground of Northern Canada. London: MacMilland and Co. Vanderbilt, T. (2002). Survival City: Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Warner, C. and Woolford, S. (2009). The Story of Flight: The Development of Aviation Through the Ages. Glasgow: Carlton Books.


The narrative itself begins in the present (31 years after the crash) and unfolds over several months, years, or decades. In attempting to fulfill its goal of reaching Chesterfield Inlet, the architecture takes on many programmes over the course of the fictional narrative. Ultimately, each iteration of the vessel represents only a snapshot in time, as the architecture is one that is never completed and always responding to the circumstance in which it finds itself. Using a fictional narrative to tell the tale, the programme of such a journey requires this vessel to anticipate and react to events along the way using the materials and resources at hand, an approach allowing for flexibility and complexity within narrow constraints in a specific context.

Map from early 18th Century describing the journey from Churchill to Chesterfield as taking twenty five days. Courtesy Manitoba Historical Maps.

The Tenuous Journey is the story of how Miss Piggy is deconstructed and reconfigured to suit her new programme of travelling by land, ice and water from Churchill, Manitoba to Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut.

3. DIRECTIVES Strategically, this proposal borrows from Stewart Brand's conception of the Six S's in attempting to make coherent the adaptations that are to take place over the course of the journey. The Six S's describe the relative permanence of any building's pieces, from most to least permanent: Site; structure; skin; services; space planning; and stuff. While the proposed site in this thesis is not a site in the traditional sense, it is where the narrative takes place and is thus fixed. The other components of the airplane will be used to accomplish the task as necessary, from the fuselage formers to the aluminum skin, with a finite kit of other parts scavenged before and during the trip. The specific subArctic condition is the key to situating this project; a never-finished condition of hybridity between the standardized (ie placeless) architectural systems of the south and the traditional ad hoc (and location-specific) construction of the north.

Top: Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen walked 90 days on foot in their attempt to reach the Pole in 1895. Photo courtesy National Geographic.

Bottom: Thomas Ulrich and Borje Ousland retrace the same trek to the Pole in 2007. Photo courtesy National Geographic.


Conceptual collage of C-46 deconstruction on its current site.



Chesterfield Inlet, NU, Canada 63°20’47.45”N / 90°44’12.58”W

Marble Island, Nunavut, Canada 62°40’10.26”N / 91° 4’20.42”W

Whale Cove, NU, Canada 62°14’33.08”N / 92°36’6.03”W

Arviat, NU, Canada 61° 5’44.11”N / 94° 4’18.80”W

Churchill to Chesterfield by any means necessary

Nunalla, MB, Canada 59°55’27.03”N / 94°49’44.18”W

Churchill, MB, Canada 58°45’19.64”N / 94° 6’44.89”W

Using components salvaged from the plane wreck, the goal is to design, construct and transport a vessel from Churchill north to Chesterfield Inlet. By necessity, the vehicle must be flexible to survive the shifting terrain and adaptable to changing programmes along the way. Based on a traditional snow sledge, the travelling architecture will be deconstructed, adapted and reconfigured as needs change over the ~600 kilometre trip.

3. DIRECTIVES Suggested Readings Jencks, C. and Silver, N. (1972). ADHOCISM: The Case for Improvisation. New York: Doubleday. Koolhaas, R. (1994). The Story of the Pool (1977), in Delirious New York. New York: The Monacelli Press. Mowat, F. (1973). Tundra. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd. Mueller, A. (ed.). Arctic Perspective Cahier No.1: Architecture. Hatje Cantz. Nansen, Fridjtof. (1897). Farthest chibald Constable and Co.




Smith, Charles Martin [Director]. (2003). The Snow Walker [Motion picture]. Canada: Infinity Media.


Conceptual collage of C-46 fuselage leaving its current site.

The diagrams on these pages describe the useful parts of the C-46 as it currently sits on the beach in Churchill.

The semi-monocoque fuselage and wings are composed of an aluminum skin over stamped aluminum ribs. The floor of the fuselage is 340 sq.ft. of 3/4" pressure treated plywood.

Wing rib, used for sledge runners.

Fuselage former from (nose) section of C-46.




Whale hunt. Photo: Tobias Holzlehner


4. INVENTORIES Tools With no access to electricity after leaving Churchill, it is important that each tool is in good repair. Whenever possible, tools that can perform more than one job should be chosen, but those which claim to perform a multitude of a duties should be avoided as they are unlikely to perform any one of those duties particularly well. Just as important is to choose tools which can be used with bulky mittens or gloves on, for obvious reasons.

Basic hand tools for this journey should include a heavy hammer, hacksaw, snips, crosscut saw, large pliers, metal file, folding knife, brace and 1/2" bit, and sheet metal punch. A toolbox would also be handy.

Materials Essential materials include cotton rope (1/8" and 1/4" diameters, minimum 500 ft.) and cotton fabric (minimum 4 oz., 200 sq.ft.). Optional but recommended materials include a large tarp (>10'x10') and lichen, which can be used as insulation and a fuel source.

A Note on Fabrics

Just as lashing is the preferred method of connecting two solid materials, thread, small diameter rope, sinew or wire can connect fabric to fabric or fabric to frame. These connections are durable and can be mended quickly with few tools. Lashing, sewing and tying are intuitive, easy to perform in the field, and require less precision because they are nearly infinitely adjustable.












Having a climate 'inventory' is just as useful as any hand tool. Knowing what to expect on the journey reduces risks and allows one to plan accordingly. Because travelling light is so important, knowing what to bring and what to leave at home can make all the difference.

Daily. Temp (C) -27 -25 -20 -10 -1 7 1 2 1 2 6 2 -13 -23 Rainfall (mm) 0 0 0 1 18 41 56 68 58 21 1 0 Snowfall (cm) 20 18 18 2 0 15 3 0 0 6 29 37 24 Snow Depth (cm) 29 33 37 31 10 0 0 0 0 3 14 27 Wind Speed (km/h) 23 22 20 20 20 18 17 18 22 23 23 22 Wind Direction W W W NW NW NE NW NW NW NW W W Total Hrs. Sunshine 81 118 182 205 196 241 281 229 111 57 54 50





"...architecture that moves, slowly or quickly, delicately or violently, resisting the false assurance of stability and its death... architecture embracing the shifts of its toodelicate forms, therefore indifferent to its destruction... architecture that transmits the feel of movement and shifts, resonating with every force applied to it, because it both resists and gives way... architecture drawn as

architecture built as though it had never been drawn..." though it were already built...

(Lebbeus Woods, Anarchitecture p.40)

Conceptual collage of C-46 deconstruction on its current site.

4. INVENTORIES ---- IN PROGRESS ---Supplies / Materials / Consumables Description QTY


Food ? Water ? Hunting Supplies Rifle 2 Husky dogs 30 Shotgun 1 Bullets (cases) 2 Shells (cases) 2 Harpoon 1 Fishing gear (spool/reel, line, hooks...) 2 Net 1 Tools Map 1 Igloo knife 1 fashioned from plane hacksaw 1 snips 1 hand brace 1 hammer 1 could be rock, etc harnesses 30 one each dog compass 1 sewing kit 2 pots/pans/etc ? Fuel fuel oil ? can use fat from animals Clothing (full waterproof) 3 one each man snow shoes (pair) 3 one each man sleeping bag 3 Supplies rope plastic sheeting width? Canvas Plastic bags (several sizes) Sharpie markers

Recipe for Loon soup: Do not make Loon soup. The Eskimo Cookbook

4. INVENTORIES Suggested Readings Cunningham, G. & Hanson, M. (1976). Lightweight Camping Equipment and How to Make It. New York: Charles Scribner and Sons. Eastman, W. (2002). A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game. North Adams: Storey Publishing. Hatton, M. (1992). Lightweight Camping: A Four Seasons Source Book. Toronto: Thompson. King, J. (2005). Arctic Clothing of North America: Alaska, Canada, Greenland. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press. Meyer, K. (1989). How to Shit in the Woods. Berkeley California: Ten Speed Press. Tyrell, J.W. (1908). Across the Sub-Arctics (3rd Ed.). Toronto: William Briggs.



Right: Topographical map of Churchill area, and site section of plane crash location. All topographical maps courtesy


Churchill, Manitoba

Cargo sledge


Churchill Left: (Animation stills) Fuselage formers, wing ribs, aluminum skin and plywood flooring are harvested from Miss Piggy. An outdoor workshop platform is built first. On this platform, a small cargo sledge and a larger inhabitable sledge are built. Far left: (digital photocomposition) Workers assemble the small cargo sledge on the workshop platform. After departure, the workshop platform extends the inhabitable space provided by the crashed airplane on this rocky site near the beach, already a popular party area for local teenagers.

Following spread: (Animation still) Burning scrap wood in a hobo barrel for heat and recreation on the jobsite.

5. ASSEMBLIES Aluminum skin

Cotton rope

Plywood cargo floor Constrictor knot

Rope connecting two materials: The basis for construction of transportable architecture in the north.

Materiality Miss Piggy provides the builders with plenty of aluminum skin and plywood with which to build an inhabitable and transportable architecture. Builders will also need to bring a few material supplies to complete the constructions, most importantly fabric and rope. These four materials provide the basic materiality of the transportable buildings. How these materials are connected becomes a very important question. Cues for these hybrid constructions have been taken both from contemporary airplane and indigenous sledge building techniques. Using only snips, a knife and a drill, a durable and adjustable shelter can be made quickly and without fuss.

Adjustable hitch through grommet in cotton fabric (typical construction detail).

5. ASSEMBLIES Basic Construction

Aluminum Skin

Basic construction of the shelter is composed of scavenged C-46 formers (1) attached to fore wing spars (2) which sit on two pairs of horizontally opposed wing ribs (3). Plywood flooring (4), also scavenged, is lashed to the wing spars. Formers are laterally braced by rope and/ or aircraft cable (5) during construction, until lapped aluminum skin (6) is secured (see next page).

Scavenged aluminum skin forms the outer layer of the double-skin envelope of the initial shelter iteration. This alumimum sheathing does double duty as a rain screen when horizontally lapped (as above). Sheathing starts at the bottom as in traditional shingling, or could be attached at the apex of the former and released if connected by rope or cable. Aluminum has many advantages in this type of construction, including corrosion resistance, light weight (about 1 lb per 2 sq.ft. of airplane sheathing), and workability. Its disadvantages are thermal bridging and susceptibility to stress fractures.

6 1

5 2

4 3


(Left) Aluminum outer skin acts as lapped rainscreen. (Right) Aluminum outer skin acts as lateral bracing.

A Note on Cutting Aluminum Avoid overcutting, and whenever possible, round off inside corners to avoid stress fractures in the sheathing. Snips are better suited to this job than a hacksaw.



5. ASSEMBLIES Basic Construction (continued) The inner skin consists of a breathable fabric (2) or animal hide layer. The traditional fabric for heated tents is high thread-count cotton, which becomes water-resistant when its fibres swell when wetted. Other textiles could include animal skins, nylon, or Tyvek-type house wrap.

Main features of a breathable fabric. After Sen, Coated Textiles. Rainproof


This inner skin is attached by lashing to the interior side of the fuselage formers. With two envelope layers, the air cavity can be filled with insulating material such as fabric, clothing, or even dried lichen. Keeping insulating materials dry is critical.

Water Vapour Permeable



The images at right demonstrate a realworld example of a travelling, hybrid architecture. Two traditional Inuit qamutiks (sledges) are placed side-by-side over a tarp (top). A large cotton tent with ridge pole is erected over the two sledges (middle). The two sledges thus become an enclosed sleeping shelter for the night (bottom).

Photographer unknown

The Inuit extended the life of their igloos by adding an insulating fabric or skin layer on the interior, protecting the snow shelter from the melting heat of the bodies inside. Illustrations from Lee, Eskimo Architecture.

5. ASSEMBLIES Suggested Readings Carr-Smith, D. Improvised Architecture in Amsterdam Industrial Squats and Collectives. Lee, M. and Reinhardt. (2003). G. Eskimo Architecture: Dwelling and Structure in the Early Historic Period. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press. Schoenauer, N. (1973). Introduction to Contemporary Indigenous Housing. Montreal: Porter Books. Sen, A.K. (2001). Coated Textiles: Principles and Applications. Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Technomic. Woods, L. (1992). Anarchitecture: Architecture is a Political Act. London: Academy Editions.


Nunalla, Manitoba


Spread and images: (Animation stills). The smaller cargo sledge is towed behind the larger shelter until their arrival at Nunalla, where they separate. The cargo sledge stays briefly before returning to Churchill, while the shelter continues on its journey north.


Shelter sledge Cargo sledge

Portability "Portable architecture is a form of building that can [be] utilized for virtually every architectural function...because portability is a design factor that in certain potentially desirable for every type of building function. There are some situations where portability is not only desirable, but also essential conditions in which the building function simply

cannot be achieved in any way. Portable architecture is, in some cases, not only the last resort but also the one that has to work. It is a form of architectural design that has creative parameters that extend beyond the normal boundaries of conventional building form and function, and often must utilize resources, techniques, and technologies from other fields in order to succeed." Robert Kronenburg

Wojtek Gnus


Nunalla Nunalla is uninhabited but for two short annual events. Halfway between Churchill and Arviat, Nunalla is the overnight resting spot for sled teams participating in the Hudson Quest do sled race (above). The Canadian Forces also hold a week-long annual training exercise called Northern Bison. For the exercise this year, Komatiks were built in Winnipeg (below) and shipped to Churchill. From there, they were towed to Arviat via Nunalla.


Nansen sledge

A Note on Lashing For any vehicle moving across the rough terrain of the north, lashing is the preferred method of connecting structural members. By far the two most popular types of sledges, the Nansen Type Sledge (top) and the Inuit komatik (or qamutik) are both secured with rope. Lashing allows the structure to flex as it travels. Bolts, screws or nails are impractical for sledge construction even today.

6. OPERATIONS Open position

Closed position

Arm width, at max.

Human body length, at min.

6. OPERATIONS Cargo sledge A smaller sledge is needed specifically for Nunalla: For the journey from Churchill it will haul construction equipment to supply Canadian Rangers and their efforts to maintain the two existing but uninhabited buildings that remain in Nunalla. Its arrival there will coincide with the annual Hudson Quest sled dog race, when Nunalla acts as a rest stop at the mid-way point between Churchill and Arviat, Nunavut. When the shelter sledge and its crew leave the cargo sledge behind, the opportunity exists for this smaller hauler to bring injured or sick dogs and/or human racers back to Churchill. Left: Front elevation showing hinging arm action, allowing cargo to be tied down securely when closed, and to act as a small shelter when open. Bottom: Hinge detail.

Former joist Lashing


Hinge body

Hinge pin

Wing rib

6. OPERATIONS Suggested Readings Beard, D.C. (2004). Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters. Dover Publications. Barthes, R. (1998). The Consumer Society: Myths and Structures. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Conover, C. (2005). Snow Walker's Companion: Winter Camping Skills for the North. Wrenshall: Stone Ridge Press. Shove, E. (2009). Time, Consumption and Everyday Life: Practice, Materiality and Culture. Oxford: Berg. Wilder, E. (1998). Secrets of Eskimo Skin Sewing. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press.


Arviat, Nunavut

7. STRATEGIES Arviat Arviat is a town of 2000 residents well known for the quality of musicians it produces (amongst them is Susan Aglukark). With help from local residents, an outdoor stage is created from the lapped aluminum skin and three of the formers of the sledge shelter. Detailed with rope lashing connections, the stage is lightweight and portable.

This page: (Animation stills). The shelter arrives on the beach in Arviat (top), where the skin and three formers are removed (middle) and reused in the construction of the outdoor stage (bottom).


Outer skin removed Formers removed

Inner skin moved

7. STRATEGIES Reconstruction

Military Book Club Survival Handbook, 1994.

Having given up its skin and three of its seven formers, the inhabitable space of the shelter is now slightly less comfortable and certainly much smaller. To improve comfort, a reconstruction of the superstructure is undertaken (top, previous page). At bottom (previous page) is one option by which to expand the space, but without the connecting rods on hand, this iteration is only theoretical. Because the iteration below (this page and following pages) triangulates the superstructure, no rope bracing is required.

Shear lashing (see diagram at right).

7. STRATEGIES Inner skin becomes outer skin Formers are moved and triangulated

With only one skin (fabric) now available for sheathing, the choice must be made whether to attach to the interior or exterior side of the formers. Attaching to the exterior, as above, allows use of the formers as attachment points for storing items inside, and more importantly allows for the expansion of useable space outwards from the central body.


Another option is to use fabric as a tension member, allowing the shelter to be expanded and contracted as required.



7. STRATEGIES Suggested Readings Brand, S. (1994). How Buildings Learn. New York: Viking. Cunningham, C. (2002). Building the Greenland Kayak : A Manual for Its Contruction and Use. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press. Lee, B. (1973). The Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Santa Clarita: Ohara. Martin, D. (1987). The Trapper's Bible: Traps, Snares & Pathguards. Boulder: Paladin. Tschumi, B. (1994). Architecture and Disjunction. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Sam Mockbee and edu/rural-studio/





Whale Cove, Nunavut

Storm wind direction

8. TACTICS Storm.


Ice jam.

8. TACTICS Unable to get to shore and with rapidly dwindling food rations (and no prospect of hunting or fishing in the dangerous waters), the crew is forced to take stock of its supplies. Stuck on the ice, feeding the sled dogs becomes a burden - at least until the decision is made that euthanizing and eating the dogs temporarily fixes their problem of lacking food. Improvisation is the key to survival.






8. TACTICS As stated in Section 4 - Inventories, each tool should be able to perform multiple duties. Sled dogs are no exception. Just as important as a source of food, the hides can be inflated, secured under the sledge, and used as floats.

Inflated skins tied to underside of sledge Uninflated skin /dinner

Inflating the skin of an animal to create a float, bladder, or vessel for liquids is not uncommon - in parts of Asia pig and goat skins are still used as floats for river rafts. The process involves piercing the hide with a hollow tube and inflating it, which separates the outer skin layer from the tissue beneath. The head and appendages are then removed, and all holes sewn tightly shut. Any hair is typically scraped off, after which the bladder is inflated and installed.


Fabric skin becomes sail

Waterline Inflated skins tied to underside of sledge

8. TACTICS Suggested Readings Abram, D. (1997). The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World. Vintage. Callahan, S. (2002). Sea. Mariner Books.






Hogan, L. (2007). Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. Jaeger, E. (1992). Publications.





Melville, M. (2002). Moby-Dick: or, The Whale. London: Penguin. NATO. (1988). Emergency War Surgery. Desert Publications.


Marble Island, Nunavut


Hunting blind




9. PROCEDURES Marble Island Marble Island lies approximately 30 kilometers off the coast of Rankin Inlet. Although uninhabited, it has a long and rich history and is visited by tourists and hunters throughout the year.

Film still: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

At this point in the journey, the shelter is raised on its runners (now legs) as a hunting and viewing perch (see diagram, previous page).

The side of the island facing the bay is a popular hunting location because it sits higher than the surrounding area, enabling hunters to see further afield. Whales, walruses and seals are primarily hunted here. This photo depicts a hunter watching a seal breathing hole in the winter ice.


Left and above: Variation on the tactic of elevating the sledge.




9. PROCEDURES Suggested Readings Levine, R. (1998). A Geography Of Time: On Tempo, Culture, And The Pace Of Life. New York: Basic Books. Rudofsky, B. (1964). Architecture Without Architects. New York: Museum of Modern Art. Simon, T. (2005). Jupiters Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph. Jupitalia. Wolff, R. (2001). Original Wisdom: Stories of an Ancient Way of Knowing. Rochester: Inner Traditions.


Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut

10. DECOMMISSION Chesterfield Inlet The final destination is a town of approximately 2000 residents at the mouth of the river leading to Baker Lake. Chesterfield was also the destination of the C-46 that crashed on the beach in Churchill in 1979.

This page: (Animation stills). On foot and carrying their shelters, the crew sets up camp for the night.


Fabric skin

Aluminum skin

By now, having travelled several hundred kilometers by ice, land and water over many months, the crew is exhausted and looking for shelter from the brisk summer wind. With only a few sections of aluminum skin, fabric and rope, the travellers can set up a decently comfortable shelter.

10. DECOMMISSION Suggested Readings Boorman, C. (2010). Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means. London: Little, Brown Book Group. Edensor, T. (2005). Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality. Oxford: Berg. Eggener, K. Architecture, Violence, Renewal. http://www. Ross, R. (2004). Waiting For The End of The World. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Vockler, K. In Folie, S. (ed.) (2009). Modernism as a Ruin: An Archaeology of the Present. Vienna: Generali Foundation.

Automated architecture: violence and nihilism as strategies of 'making' in the tactics of Coop Himmelb(l)au. Architectural Research Quarterly. Volume 10, Issue 3-4. Cambridge University Press.


Tenuous Journey  

Master of Architecture thesis document from Dustin Sharrow (University of Manitoba, 2011)

Tenuous Journey  

Master of Architecture thesis document from Dustin Sharrow (University of Manitoba, 2011)