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2014 MCHAP.emerge

Fogo Island Inn

Saunders Architecture

Fogo Island, Canada

June 2013


Todd Saunders / Saunders Architecture


DBA Consulting Engineers Ltd. (Structural enigneering), Crosbie Engineering Ltd-Mechanical & Electrical (Mechanical and Electrical Engineering), Sustainable Edge Ltd. (Mechanical and Electrical Engineering), Odyssey Mechanical Inc. (Mechanical and Electrical Engineering), Bayview Electrical Ltd (Mechanical and Electrical Engineering), Sheppard Case Architects Inc (Local Architect)


The Shorefast Foundation


Iwan Baan, Alex Fradkin, Mads Mogesen


The Fogo Island Inn is a public building for Fogo Islanders with twenty-nine rooms for guests. Fogo Islanders are a people who by virtue of their centuries of geographic isolation have become masters of making things by hand, recycling and devising local solutions to all manner of challenges. Engaging this cultural and intellectual heritage was a priority in the design of the inn and was a key asset during its construction. The goal was to find new ways with old things. The knowledge and skill of local carpenters and craftspeople were essential for establishing the materials, details, furniture and textiles used throughout. The site was selected so that all guest rooms face the ocean and look onto the fishing grounds that originally attracted people to this island. Traditional style “shore” legs are used to support the floors while minimizing the overall building footprint and its impact on the adjacent rocks, lichens and berries. Ecological and self-sustaining systems were subtly integrated from the beginning of the project, incorporating technologies to reduce and conserve energy and water usage.


The Fogo Island Inn was conceived as a building for knowledge gained from centuries of lived experience off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. For more than 500 years, the in-shore cod fishery supported the economic livelihood of Newfoundland, particularly its outport communities such as those found on Fogo Island and Change Islands. The global forces that culminated in the fishery moratorium of 1992 brought an end to this way of life, significantly affecting the ecological, economic, and socio-cultural structure of Newfoundland. Fogo Island is a compelling example of the challenges facing remote, rural communities around the world. The Fogo Island Inn is a cultural and economic engine for Fogo Island, one of Canada’s oldest settlements. It was created in response to a pressing need to find a path and contemporary relevance for traditional knowledge. The Inn is owned by the Shorefast Foundation, a charitable organization, and operated for the benefit of the communities of Fogo Island and Change Islands. The Shorefast Foundation, through initiative such as the Inn and Fogo Island Arts, a contemporary arts residency program, hopes to simulate an international dialogue that will help Fogo Island, Change Islands, and other rural communities achieve relevance and resilience in an increasingly urbanized world.


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