Shelter: How We Live

What do green building and sleeping in your car have in common? Houses made from shipping pallets? All are aspects of shelter, a basic requirement for living and one of the fundamental building blocks of any society. From mainstream to makeshift, green to affordable, this ground breaking exhibit will look at some of the many…

2010 Sep 18 – 2010 Nov 14

Curated by Rod Taylor

What do pallet houses and couch surfing have in common? They are both elements of Shelter: how we live, an exciting new exhibit opening on Friday, Sept. 17th from 7-9 pm at Touchstones Nelson. The exhibit will look at shelter from differing perspectives, including homelessness, green building and affordable housing. “These are critical issues in Nelson,” said exhibit curator Rod Taylor “but they’re often considered in isolation, when in reality I think they’re very interconnected.”

Highlights will include a typical homeless campsite and an actual pallet house installed in the gallery, as well as panels featuring local and BC green and affordable housing projects on loan from the Surrey Art Gallery’s Building Green exhibit.

But in addition to the promise of such an interesting and engaging installation, Taylor says the intention is for the material installed in the gallery to act as a catalyst for something he considers to be of equal importance; discussion, both in the gallery and out of it. At the opening, for example, the gallery will be supplying “conversation tags” for people with experience in related areas to wear, bearing a short description of what they’d like to talk about. According to Taylor, “We have some amazing people in this community – architects, designers, people from social service agencies, and others with real experience in these areas who will be making themselves available to talk at the opening if you want to – it’s a pretty cool opportunity.” Also held in conjunction with the exhibit will be a “Ten Square”, a juried micro-building design competition and a forum on low-cost housing solutions that Touchstones Nelson is partnering with SPAN (Social Planning and Action Network) to develop.

The “Ten Square” competition was conceived of as a way of re-examining how much space we require, the converse side of “Mcmansions”. The key requirement was that each design have a footprint of 10 square meters or less (approx. 107 sq. ft.). “We ended up with 39 entries from 7 countries,” says exhibit curator Rod Taylor “and what an amazing range of designs and approaches. The time and effort that people have put into this shows in each and every entry. Clearly this is something that many people relate to – I feel very fortunate to have been able to connect with them through this competition and the Shelter exhibit.”

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The Nelson Museum is located in beautiful downtown Nelson, British Columbia.


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