The UWSA Design Build program provides an opportunity for Waterloo Architecture students to work directly with First Nations communities on cultural building projects in the Grand River region.
The 2018 Design Build project involves students working in collaboration with the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation near Hagersville Ontario, for the construction of a new pow wow arbor, to be used for their annual Three Fires Homecoming Pow wow held in late August each year. Students are working during the Spring term 2018 prefabricating elements of the pow wow structure at the School of Architecture workshop. This will be followed by a ten-day on site construction period in mid-August. The prefabricated elements are laminated ash and plywood ring beams, that will support a lattice frame structure, covered by a tensioned fabric canopy, sitting atop 8 large cedar posts.
Photos show students assembling the curved laminated ash wood beam elements that fit together to form a 32-foot diameter exterior ring beam.
The pow wow arbor creates a shaded canopy for a series of drum circle groups, who provide the heartbeat for the pow wow ceremony, and a rhythm for dancers in colourful traditional ceremonial costumes, who circle the pow wow arbor throughout the course of the pow wow ceremony. The pow wow is the major annual gathering ceremony held in many First Nations communities throughout the Grand River region and beyond.