This weekend was monumental. The 249 year old Charles Morris Building moved from it's site in Downtown Halifax to it's new home in the North End of the city. This isn't the first time this structure relocated and was forced to adapt to the changing needs of the city. My involvement with this structure began in 2009, shortly after the structure was spared demolish and relocated a stones throw from it's previous site. The structure sat on stilts for the last three years until this weekend.
Moving a building is a surprisingly common activity, but none the less requires a great deal of effort and collaboration. In recent years, many artists, architects, researchers, organizations and activists have used this building for inspiration. Vulnerable it sat, but forgotten it wasn't.
It is surreal to witness this structure move through the city streets, strapped to a truck. It is uplifting to see the generations of citizens captivated by this project and who gathered in the bitter bitter cold to welcome this building to it's new home. From this point on it will serve as affordable housing for youth and serve as a testament to community perseverance and the resiliency of a city.
I believe that art and architecture alike have power. It's built into the bones and spirit of a place. It's a spirit that is not replaceable through the creation of a modernized replica but acquired through time and human presence. Architecture serves as a physical reminder of a region's past and our collective histories.
I feel proud of the work we created, and prouder yet of the ability and agility of the human spirt. This is the first time I have witnessed this transformation and artistically feel empowered as I see the continued relevance and power of art.
Congratulations to the Ecology Action Centre, the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, Ark, Metro Non-Profit Housing and the countless individuals involved in this triumphant move.
Watch the documentary about our Morris Building Project, Carbon Copy: