“It’s been a learning experience for both the students and our community” says Laurie Curry of Spencer’s Island speaking of an outdoor cinema recently designed, resourced and built by Dalhousie University Architecture students on Curry’s family land. “The project has been a welcome addition to the area celebrating our rich history of ship building and lumbering of the past.” Says Curry.
When 11 students from the Architecture School first arrived to participate in a two week long, hands-on course, they were fascinated with the story of the Mary Celeste. Their task to create a 108 foot long stone wall that was a line from the hull of a ship naturally fosters a good shape for a public space. A tower, suggestive of a light house, acts as a beacon which projects images onto an 18 foot by 24 foot sail-like screen. The screen and tower align along the north-south axis representing the importance of cardinal directions and constellations for seafaring and way finding of the past.
“Our group of students wanted to make a functional public space in the field to act as a community gathering place where people could watch movies and view selected historical images celebrating the history of the region.” Says Professor Roger Mullin. “I’m also quietly hoping the project might revive the 'drive in' theater scene and demonstrate the importance and benefits of good public spaces in rural communities.”
“This project has planted a little seed, with some ideas about future developments that could cater to an 'interpretive center' for the infamous ship, act as a vendor location for local artisans, and possibly link to a boardwalk leading to the site of the Old Shipyard, now acting as a campground.” Says Curry enthusiastically.
Community members of Spencer’s Island hope to have an inaugural showing of historical images later this fall. Until then, they’ll be busy rigging the sail and hoping for good weather.