KathKaCh'oolth Centre and ABCD Studio

Page 1

KathKaCh'oolth Centre A B C D


in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region

Supporting the communities within MABR

A Proposal for an Architectural Education and Community Centre

Dr Michael Karassowitsch RAIC AIA May 2024

– COMMUNITY – Build – Architecture

A Community Centre for MABR as an Educational Facility for Architecture.

The KathKaCh'oolth Centre

This is a document envisioning a learning place at the heart of a social centre that generates community within MABR with the biosphere. Architectural research and education will contribute to community that harmonizes with its biosphere as essential to our dwelling. The KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio is at the heart of the Centre and the Centre is at the heart of the region. The ABCD Studio will serve to generate its environmental form. The KathKaCh'oolth Centre is a place where that community meets.


MABR Boundary. Map by the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve Research Institute (MABRRI) 2015.

Introducing the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve or Region (MABR)

The Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Reserve or Region (MABR) is an area that is defined topographically through its biosphere and biospheres – it is both one and a multitude The MABR is one instance of the global World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) This program is,


to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments. MAB combines the practical application of natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits, and to safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.1

The Region is 1186 square kilometers, where about 45000 people live. It encompasses the traditional lands of the Qualicum, Snaw-naw-as, Snuneymuxw, K'ómox, Tseshaht, Hupacasath, and Ditidaht. It is composed of watersheds of Qualicum River, Little Qualicum River, Englishman River and French Creek and smaller watersheds.

Communities are located within MABR according to topographical features based on the need for water, fertile land and in response to weather. They are also located according the human network deploying across the land, cutting the land with infrastructure and depositing and taking from the land at certain points based on human material acquisitiveness. Most town centres were founded very early in current period of technological and infrastructural method and capacity, and the growth of those places takes that forward, pushing into the landscape according to our, often detrimental, approach to nature in this time There is as yet little difference in the culture in this area to the others in the area. A UNESCO/MAB Biosphere Reserve implies a change of mind, otherwise why would it need protecting after ascertaining that it is intact to some technical degree?

Implicit is that these areas are precious remainders. To create an equitable society, where there is equal value for the life that is not human upon which we all depend, the harmony that is implicated in the UNESCO MAB Programme and its World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) can be taken seriously as a call to provide architecture. This is about the environments and architecture is the form of that. Travel on Highway 19 or 19A will show a great variety of terrain and character over the 30 - 45 minutes that it takes to cross along the southeast/northwest axis at speed The large area that the MABR includes does not have very much architecture, nor a unified or integrated architectural identity, other than incidental commonalities and historical imports, across the whole of Vancouver Island and around the Salish Sea.

Architecture has been part of the world for a very long time. The valuation that founds a MAB Biosphere Reserve designation registers a social valuation that locks in essential characteristics that demand architecture.

1 from MAB STRATEGY 2015-2025, 2015 p. 3


… [A] world where people are conscious of their common future and interaction with our planet, and act collectively and responsibly to build thriving societies in harmony within the biosphere.2

Architecture results from a superordinate program that serves human evolution by providing the proper environment for realizing the purpose of life. It is superordinate as a program that is in all the projects that we undertake in the environment, whether it is a pavilion, a house or a hospital. Although this may seem anthropocentric, and we might consider that Nature needs freedom from human actions very much at this time, it is not wrong because humanity is born of Nature and borne lovingly by Nature. We need to consider our role.

A millipede, a clam, a bear or a fern must have an environment where it can live and thrive. While it thrives, it serves the whole in its natural role. A bear cannot fulfill itself or nature by doing what a clam does. So too humanity. Our knowledge of the world, our awareness, demands not a return to lesser awareness, but evolving conscious capacity properly. We fulfill the role of human life in its integrated designated place in the world if we fulfill our highest aspiration. Architecture has long been the name of successful environments. The profession suffers in part due to its limiting adherence to building and technology. The KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio seeks to support the community's role in the MABR as stewards of the biosphere. The impulse to provide architecture is clear under the UNESCO MAB concept that demands harmony with nature and the local biosphere as the principal value.

Defining a cultural centre in MABR, and the Role of the KathKaCh'oolth Centre and the ABCD Studio

This proposal is to create a research-in-education facility for architecture that is of this critical time and for the local community. The work of this centre is supporting and supported by the MAP designation of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR), and cousin to the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI), to bring this area's nature into social and cultural view and to provide means to interact positively. The studio is named according to a traditional name of KathKaCh'oolth of Mt Arrowsmith. Mt Arrowsmith is based on the name of a cartographer. One cartographer named the mountain after another.

2 from MAB STRATEGY 2015-2025, 2015 p. 7


The studio will provide a high standard of architectural education in collaboration with accredited institutions and engage research toward realizing change in architecture beyond technical attributes and functioning Architects have created much of the way we engage the built environment. Since 150 years ago this has focused on technology, such as what is now civil engineering, but now we must turn to other approaches beyond the mitigation of the harms we have built into our environment This will be developed through ABCD Studio projects The outcomes will represent a relationship with Nature that supports and enhances the biosphere. We are in harmony within the impulse that the MAB Biosphere Region designation provides Local architecture, at home in the community and in MABR, driven by local needs and support, where it takes its form, will allow the creation of new knowledge

The KathKaCh'oolth Centre will evolve into a leader that generates architecture for the region. The KathKaCh'oolth Centre ABCD Studio's research–in–education projects are based in real needs to serve the community. Built and other forms of architecture that realize and support the culture of


the people living within MABR can engage the entire geographic region, from high up on the mountains to ocean orientated places at the Salish Sea. As we move into the hills, the territory southwest (i.e. inland) of the band across Errington – Coombs is very large. Here, for example, stations of architecture for community may presence a great deal of MABR’s life to us. Further up the mountain, stations may also in part be the MABR cultural identity. Going into the wild parts of MABR is not an aim, but marking current thresholds or correcting settlement thresholds will be key outcomes. Our main focus will be projects in already developed areas, bringing in the biosphere’s needs into urban areas in human community

Near the coast and at the ocean, more intense settlement will need to restore better understanding of what has been lost by realizing its presence again. The need for these places is historically, scientifically and socio-culturally defined. They are found by perceiving and evolving understanding of the energy of the public sphere and integrating that with the biosphere

Architecture is in essence the human role in nature. We have created a paradigm that is at odds and even often destructive at a metabolic level. This is an experiment of experiences because it ties to the way we see ourselves and our valuation of life and the world. Now we are at a special time where the need to change our approach is critical. The relationship of the environment is profoundly connected to anyone's life, even in the urban places that are most abstracted from the natural world. The ABCD Studio understands that architecture is human consciousness needing to aspire in the environment as experience and awareness.

An architecture of the region that realizes the value of the biosphere will take into account vectors of attention and intention, to connect points that are now not valued in places being occupied by human habitation. There are many activities that take place out of public scrutiny, with damage unseen, uncontrolled and undervalued. Architecture of the region, in harmony with its nature will naturally keep us moving toward real, nonexploitative harmony. The value of the ABCD Studio and the KathKaCh'oolth Centre to the MABR community is to facilitate that the whole biosphere be known in light of the respect and stewardship for which we are destined to be responsible, and that there we make our community culture fit to that inclusion

The KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio is a lab for this discovery, doing that through education. Over time a community culture will grow and evolve. Evolving through community integration and loci of activities. Elements that are clearly of the MABR culture, in support of the biosphere, will crystallize. This outline discusses creating that identity at a Centre that becomes a living experience of what the integrated human/biosphere community will be. The possibilities are so great that this proposal outline only points to an adventure into discovering the fullness of such a centre.


The ABCD Studio Concept

Only some design-build programs commit to developing community, where the students need to make the decisions on what is done and for who, as well as how it designed and built to provide for architecture. The ABCD Studio is in the lineage of the Rural Studio in Alabama and the Yale Building Project, Artemis Institute Remote Studio and others. The Rural Studio takes on duty to house the poor and to provide infrastructure in a very poor area and the Yale Building Project takes on providing affordable housing in an area that is far too costly for many of the local residents. The MABR ABCD is to take on the duty of serving the harmony of nature and humanity in an area where the natural systems are mainly intact, by providing for architecture of its social and cultural realm. The term ‘design-build’ does not, therefore, properly describe the intent, content and the necessary parameters and process of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio very well.

B and D. These letters represent 'design-build', the foundational concept.

C. Between these two letters, the 'C' is for community. Community is the essential aspect. In the case of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio, as a design-build studio venue of learning, community includes the local users and the leadership, the local craftsmen and technologists who will advise, the faculty, with Nature as equal colleague. A group of students with their faculty is locates a ‘real’ project in an environment that people inhabit. The value of such a contribution, especially a smaller one that cannot materially change the material terms of a locus or a region to a great physical degree, is defined by and effective for community needs. Thus ‘Design’ and ‘Build’ are joined by ‘Community’.

A. We are evolving the practice of architecture. The studio strives to understand architecture to develop professionally. Architecture is not building nor technology, nor is it landscape or space. It is an experience that is very old and can be thought to be original to consciousness. It begins with the choices we make consciously and their grounds, not sticks and earth. The measure of architecture is the whole of experience. The grand magic of this endeavour is that we make physical things that allow inhabitants to presence architecture (within themselves), something common to us all. It is incumbent on this project for a culture of MABR to express architecture. It does boil down to a ‘hands-on’ experience, but as a component of developing understanding of a relationship between community, design and building that allows anyone who may come into that place to experience – and thus to presence – architecture. Hence, we arrive at ABCD, with architecture (A) first.


The Basics of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio

The intent of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio approach is to build on the foundation that the UNESCO/MAB Biosphere Regional designation provides, to add to current research activities, and to extend beyond scientific and technological indirect socio-cultural support for the biosphere region. The Centre will contribute to resolving the conundrum of utilizing the same mindset and methodologies that are generating the devastation of the planet to try to fix it.

The goal of KathKaCh'oolth Centre is to serve the community within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region through the community.

1) It serves the Centre and the community space of MABR through the Centre.

2) The facility is conceived as a public community element of MABR.

3) It provides for the creation of architecture of the public realm integrated with the nature of the MABR in service to the community of MABR in beneficial harmony with the biosphere.

4) It serves as an educational institution for architects in providing for architecture as public spaces in the biosphere.

5) The aspirational space of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio is engaged by various architectural schools and individual students who join and fulfill architectural projects in MABR.

The KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio's research–in–practice and educational service will serve the decolonization of nature. What does that mean? Our current approach to dwelling in the world treats the world as if it is a utility that has nothing to say and is an automatic capital asset, i.e. free. The way we provide materials and energy for our lives and the built environments 'extracts' the value we seek and we do not consider the whole with the systems and the values that they support. The danger and the damage is far more extreme than many of us understand and experience due to its normative absorption in our culture and education. The change in architecture in practice and as a profession to do this is foundational. The work that the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio will produce will engage fundamental change. The affect of a series of smaller projects can develop advancement of evolutionary transformation in our environment

Architecture at scientific research facilities in the MABR can alter disconnected western scientific ideological patterns and be augmented and united with indigenous presence and other ways of learning.


Architecture is an original attribute of human consciousness that we gain in environments that are prepared according to our capacity We are invited by nature to create the balance that human aspiration and intent are responsible for. Architecture is created in the environment beyond building and technology, arising out of broader factors of mind and feeling. It can give measure to the biosphere that MABR designates, and in doing so, the need for us to integrate our evolution with the power of our giver of life, the biosphere. Therefore, this is not about creating a cool cabin in the woods The excellent project of Fort La Cloche Bridge at the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation touches what this project aspires The root of this project is in its generation by a team of students, community respecting the park's needs is embedded in the bridge by the team as architecture. The ABCD Studio aims at more culturally integrated community outcomes

Background of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio

There are some models that we may use to inform the program. Some examples that the ABCD Studio takes as influence follow

Rural Studio

The Rural Studio is associated with the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture of Auburn University in Alabama in the United States. The Rural Studio serves people in an area that has persistent poverty and very low housing quality. It began as a stand-alone initiative that was so successful that Auburn University absorbed it. It became a leading light and is now an institution. Its work centred on two factors: 1) The students take responsibility for the client and work directly with the people for whom they are building. 2) The projects are realized as practical completed work. They are not sample or temporary projects. See Rural Studio: Love Stories

The Yale University Jim Vlock First Year Building Project

This has had a number of orientations over the decades. Today it focuses on affordable housing. In this case it is in an area where it is very difficult to find affordable housing, rather than an area of poverty and focuses on those needing homes in the community. The builders of these houses are first year students. There is a system and a method, honed over decades that we can learn from.

Artemis Institute: Remote Studio

YouTube on Artemis Studio

UrbanBuild. Tulane University


These are exemplary established programs with their own culture in place. KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio will create its own culture of learning, where the design activity and its outcomes are linked to human experienced outcomes of service to the community. Students will discover and evolve the form we need to provide within MABR to support the needs of people and community and the biosphere, in unity with the biosphere We will engage projects that involve the culture of working and living in the environment at large. Students and faculty will take up leading roles in an endeavour that the community and the biosphere guide The program can be expanded to Masters level education with research nodes It will appeal to international students which provide more and forms a portal to wider national and international influence that will enhance the community.

Defining the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio Project Scope

Developing the proper studio scope for each project is a key element. That is based on the entire premise that this and other documents already define. To make each project work, however, means to utilize manpower, time and available skills and resources at a level that results in a project serves the community needs, so that the complexity, size and materiality of the project have been arrayed to the proper way This depends on clarity and cohesive ongoing contact. The Centre is a place that unifies that community and the people working and studying and the natural space, the biosphere.

A variety of accredited university architectural syllabi are being studied to understand how they can support this ABCD Studio design-build program.

A. A simple well-made bench is a correct endeavour in the same period that a shelter with roof and door could be constructed only as a temporary mock-up, or perhaps left undone due to time and material constraints. We may experience a simple tent as architecture if its transitory and light character is essential to the context, while a tent is not proper if it is used due to students’ lack of time and skill. In this way, the projects undertaken are either permanent or temporary according to their programmatic characteristics rather than negatively influenced by time limits.

B. One can design very large objects in a typical studio project using representational media. While the ABCD Studio may take on projects that require more than a semester or a year, the size of a project that is to be completed hands-on is limited. Larger projects would lead to design for a large building or an entire community. The magic of this approach is that students must study an community in order to ascertain a specific intervention. They will learn as much or more about a community than when designing one from scratch using projections, statistics, general demographic data, styles of approach and case studies. The studio, therefore, includes that the students assess the parameters of their skill, available time and available resources and the clients served so that the program serves the community as part of the learning outcomes. The


available resources in studio, even as students and faculty and community are learning, are not a justification of temporal limitations or physical incompleteness. In return, the community supports the students’ learning.

The characteristics of our inherent calling to work in the environment also requires communication with, and the permission of, all the entities that are mothered by earth together with us. Many of us already have this intent, but our systems, rules and codes do not. Today’s formalities for planning and building are meant to serve our community by defining parameters that create engineered trust and safety in the built world. The systems, codes and rules as they are today, based on colonizing nature, compromise support for community and for nature, which in practice includes humanity. The natural world is considered circumstantially in the sanctioning of projects through items such as temperature control, concern for emissions, water management, light and shadow, control of effluents, as well as protecting certain plants and regions according to scientific, legal and political rules.

The projects of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio may confront systems, codes and rules in terms of their location, what they are made of, and how they are made. The Centre will be a known partner to evolve how we work, rather than an outsider adversary that so many builders and architects end up as when they come into the area.

The knowledge borne in the codes and systems as they are will be taken up and considered. The projects will take concern for human well-being and an integral relationship with the biosphere as basic tenets. The KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio will develop foundational principles to transition to working with the biosphere within its terms. It will harness community needs in consensus with Indigenous communities, traditional knowledge and the biosphere. It will take the biosphere as equivalent to humanity, akin to understanding it as our body.

KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio and Spirituality

We are much more than our bodies. The physical built elements also require our intellect, but there is even more to us than thinking and strength. With the human stage of consciousness comes the questioning of who ‘I’ am, questioning what we do, and what life’s goals and purpose may be. So too comes the issue of where we are and what we do, if we need to move and if we change the places we occupy Eventually the question of how to enhance our life with changes to the environment comes up. Humanity dwelling has implicit permission to change environments by force of


and our rchitecture is

In light of architecture’s service to spirituality, the need is to research and to re-invent practice with such purpose, the culture, local indigenous practice, yogic practices, and related practice such as Non-violent Communication (NVC). This has forms in all cultures and can be engaged through the local Indigenous communities. Architecture as an experience of the aspiration that consciousness creates is possible in any exercise of working with the environment, with constant remembrance of that quest, heartfully, to bring us forward on that quest. It is here that the spirituality of Indigenous ways of all types in all places connects to a need and by which we can understand the profound lack that our current technological outlook has, with which we are causing dire crises.

Within MABR, which takes harmony with the biosphere as a primary value, the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio can support the development of architecture where the reality of human aspiration within ourselves and responsibility for stewardship of the world meet. Ending inequity requires the valuation of humanity's higher nature and capacity without which architecture cannot exist. These value relationships are inherent in the wholeness of nature and it's biospheres.

Summary of the KathKaCh'oolth Centre and the ABCD Studio

This outline is for a facility that brings understanding to enabling the community to values the biosphere as if it is humanity itself. The mode is teaching and research in architecture. This project can independently contribute to the growing cultural and community space of the UNESCO MAB Program Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region making strong its value for the biosphere through enhancing, intensifying and normalizing unity with human inhabitants and settlements This is based on the well known architectural design-build studio approach. The ABCD Studio culture will include spirituality through yoga and the impulses and goals of interested local Indigenous groups who belong there. The studio will be responsive and interactive with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) and Indigenous groups across Canada and take influence from Indian Knowledge Systems of which Yoga is an integral part.

The work that the ABCD Studio produces will never go against community intentions and needs, and will always support the biosphere. Projects will begin with these duties and serve them. The amazing and hopeful redemptive aspect of this is that this includes the raison d'être of human life.


The KathKaCh'oolth Centre and ABCD Studio will produce a body of work that we experience as architecture. Its headquarters will become a centre of activity that will bring interested people to MABR. It will bring a stream of students and practitioners of architecture. UNESCO's Man and Biosphere (MAB) component which sanctions Biosphere Reserves will take notice if one of its Biosphere Regions becomes a community with its own architecture that transforms from a technical designation to a community identity where the biosphere is brought to an equitable unity with humanity. The KathKaCh'oolth Centre is to contribute to the creation of human dwelling's responsibility to answer to its granted capacity within nature's purpose, and to find out what that really means We will do that in light of the MABR and its life and people.

Development of the KathKaChoolth Centre

Economic Attributes and Logistics

There are a number of economic, operational and structural scenarios by which this studio can be realized. Our approach to develop and build architecture to anchor integration with nature in terms of deeds and the other is to educate the next generation are not primarily commercial concepts. But they are not opposed. Viability of products and outcomes come out of doing research, in cooperation with education, in light of purpose and value. This need for a culture around behavioral change to sustain and enhance, intensify and normalize integration with the biosphere can only benefit the area. The Centre will bring people to visit and to respect the community. The results of the work will propagate and we will create new businesses. The KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio and Centre will be an entity to develop this and more.

There are four approaches for the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio as an institution to develop the monetary and capital value that supports the facility and the people involved. Non-profit, co-op, fees to acquire materials and land, and charitable donation. The ABCD Studio or encompassing Centre may be a charitable entity or have a charitable component

1) Take tuition for the educational component, including through universities.

2) Grants for the educational component as well as the community Center for the MABR.

3) Grants for specific projects.


4) People, government entities and businesses in the region who have requirements for functions, spaces and environments that could be brought up to the level of architecture as ABCD Studio projects. These can contribute to the studio work and projects. If the studio is a charitable non-profit, those monetary contributions can be deemed donations and tax deductible.

5) Patents and copyrights as well as propagation of ABCD Studio methods.

There are four areas to be evolved to form the facility of the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio.

1. Locus . We require a place for the KathKaCh'oolth ABCD Studio to grow. For example, there are property owners in Errington and Coombs who would support leasing land to the programme. This can be temporary, with the development of light, movable, green structures

2. Students . A relationship with universities is the most powerful educational relationship. This can be developed in a number of modes with professors of architecture and at the institutional level in Canada, the USA, India and others.

3. Association with local Indigenous groups

4. Funding . Donors and financial support and structure will be developed as per the above.

5. Projects . Projects with funding or projects and funding can be developed.

Wider research and discussion will take place to define a course of action and refine the mission and approach. A more detailed document will be developed that discusses the location, students, funding and projects that would be undertaken.

Action Plan and Time Line

The following two pages propose an Action Plan and a Timeline of a year one process to getting the KathKaChoolth Centre set up and ready for a first semester of teaching and student work. This is to provide and overview of the elements that are required and the scale of the operation.


KathKaCh'oolth Centre




A first year start This action plan is based on S

KathKaCh'oolth Centre Time Line A

A first year start-up Action Plan for the KathKaCh'oolth Centre and ABCD Time Line A is based on Start-Up Funding of $100,000 over one year.

17 The KathKaCh'oolth Centre Initial Information and Research Knowledge Base Initial Information/Research Visit Rural Studio + other travel Knowledge Base Visit Rural Studio ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• Identify and Appoint Advisory Panel Organization Appoint Advisory Panel Develop Working Budget Organization Financial Planning Funding/Partners Partners Attract+find Partner/Volunteer/Govt Support Formalize the Entity Organization Incorporate Local Outreach/Coordination w/MABR Partners Local Outreach Part-Time Manager Partners Search Employee Location Location ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• Land and Facilties Selection Formalize the Location for Minimum 2 Years Location Finalize Permissions and Site Preparation Location ••• Move-in Preparations Technical Assistant Organization Search Technical Assistant Site Preparation Location Prepare the Location The Original Project for KathKaCh'oolth Centre Original Space Studio Program Project : Build Facility 1 Volunteers/Staff for Café Organization Café The Studio Program Develop the Programme Organization Programme Curriculum Publication Organization Prospectus Programme Eduicational Partner Development Studio Program Partners ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• Eduicational Partner Development ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• ••• Build Facility 1 Program Development Studio Program Project : Build Facility 1 Accomodation Project : Build Facility 1 Organization Accomodation Individual Partners Interaction Session 1 Studio Program Session 1 Project and Partner Development Project and Research : Session 1 Studio Program ABCD Studio : Session 1 Accomodation Project : Session 1 Organization Accomodation Individual Partners Interaction Studio Program Session 2 Project and Partner Development Project and Research : Session 2 Studio Program ABCD Studio : Session 2 Accomodation Project : Session 2 Accomodation Year 2 TASKS Goal Component FOUNDING A COMMUNITY CENTRE, RESEARCH & TEACHING INSTITUTION Q3 Session 2 Grant / Fellowship Startup Year July August Session 1 Q1 Q2 Q3
March April May Q4 June
October November Q1 Q2 December January February September

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