Construction of the Bridge at Fort LaCloche (Grad Craft Studio)
The MSoA is now building its first large scale permanent structure thanks to handcraft and digital fabrication. This design-build project consists of a bridge built for Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation and Ontario Parks at Fort LaCloche. It does not only define its place, it links people. The bridge is the gate of Heaven’s Gate Trail, a 40 kilometre tail through wild rugged forested terrain connecting to the trails at Killarney Provincial Park.
To date three separate Grad Craft studios led by Master Lecturer Randall Kober have been planning and fabricating the bridge. In the Fall of 2019 Grad Craft students undertook an extensive and rigorous process to schematically design the bridge. Cedar trees were felled at Sagamok to form the main structural elements of the new bridge. In the Fall of 2021 Grad Craft students carried the project into design development working with Moses Structural Engineers to design in detail the bridge’s structure. The original design was modified to reflect this collaboration. More recently, in the Fall of 2022 Grad Craft students carried out further planning and early stages of prefabrication. Most importantly each log’s joinery was designed and exactingly shaped by integrating advanced computer modelling, digital fabrication techniques and handcraft. The stairs, railings and roof structure were designed in detail. This construction will continue upcoming months thanks to the School’s first Design-Build Camp.
The 2019 and 2022 cohorts travelled to Austria and Switzerland to research wood architecture, timber bridge typologies and advance construction techniques.