Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2011 - (Page 4)

A SACRED SPACE ROOFTOP SWEAT LODGE, FIRE PIT AND SACRED MEDICINE GARDEN CREATES HOLISTIC CEREMONIAL GROUNDS FOR URBAN ABORIGINALS ON THE PATH TO HEALING By Caroline M. Nolan THE PROJECT CULTURAL AND CEREMONIAL GROUNDS, NATIVE CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES, TORONTO, ONTARIO A 1980s office building in downtown Toronto is rejuvenated, creating a focal point for social and cultural services for the Aboriginal community in and around the city. During the conversion, a barren roof was reconceived as sacred space, for use as cultural and ceremonial grounds. This rebirth includes teaching hills and a working sweat lodge, whose steel ribs are clad in rusted steel and lined with scented Cedar, in place of customary branches and skins. Another creative twist on tradition: a welcoming fire pit for gatherings, meetings and child play is fueled by building-code friendly gas, not firewood flames. Rainwater is recycled to irrigate plants, a lush sampling of indigenous species from the Great Lakes Region including coniferous and Sumac trees and wildflowers. Sweet grass, Cedars, sage and tobacco support a sacred medicine garden, while corn, beans and squash collide and collaborate in a time-honored “Three Sisters Garden.” Water trickles from a fountain like a mountain stream, while vines drape fencing, cleaning the air and helping to ease the sounds from the busy city below. This is a truly remarkable sacred space where souls come to play, rest and heal. THE CLIENT KENN RICHARD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIVE CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES OF TORONTO How did the idea for a green roof with a sweat lodge and healing space originate? KR: We wanted a clear, well-defined and native aesthetic to be presented to the people of Toronto, one that shows strength and resolution. The building does that in addition to being highly functional in regards to our work. The green roof was not just a practical consideration, it has tremendous symbolic meaning. Stewardship of the natural world is a cornerstone of Native culture and this project was a tangible expression of that role. That we could also bring ceremony to it through the creation of a sweat lodge only served to reinforce the cultural elements at play. What impact has this space had on your clients? KR: Clients have uniformly provided very positive feedback. They speak of the Images by and courtesy of Ben Rahn/A-Frame and Scott Torrance Landscape Architect beauty and comfort of the space and how welcoming it is. They also say that it makes them proud to be part of a community that can do such a wonderful thing. Up until now we have had to take our clients to the countryside to do the native ceremonies which we can now do on the roof in downtown Toronto. This new space allows increased access to ceremony which is a 4 LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR WINTER 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2011

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2011
The Living Architecture & Health Connection
Picnic Perfect
Green Roof Sight-Seeing
A Sacred Space
On the Roof With… Judith H. Heerwagen
A Spiritual Oasis
Therapeutic Landscapes
Active Living Walls
Lifetime Achievement Award: A Legend Remembered
Civic Award: Kelly Luckett
Research Award: Jeremy Lundholm
Fieldnotes From Greenbuild 2010
Toward Net-Zero Water Use
Learn Online
New Corporate Members
Welcome New GRPs
Cents and Sustainability

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Winter 2011