Alix Tier
The Crust

The semi-arid desert is a unique and diverse region in Canada, making up only __% of the country's land mass. Its importance to the Canadian landscape goes beyond its unique aesthetic and encompasses a number of ecological intrigues. While it hosts a number of red and blue listed species it also hosts a number of plant species that rely on a unique biological crust only formed in this semi-arid deserts. This biotic crust takes over 100 years to grow and is largely what allows vegetation in this region to exist and thrive. Without it, the desert as we know it cannot exist.

The biotic crust however, a mixture of many living organisms, is very sensitive to human disturbance. Human disturbance over many years has resulted in the crust retreating into parts of the landscape less accessible to humans or in ecologically protected areas. With the proposal of a new national park, intended to represent and conserve this unique Canadian landscape, this project challenges the idea that a park can do that alone, when those visiting the protected area are guests observing rather than residents learning to understand and participate in the conservation of this unique landscape. Protecting a singular patch of landscape will do little ecologically for the greater good of the species that rely on this unique ecological area. Rather, protecting multiple smaller areas that are able to serve as patches and later on corridors for desert species to survive and thrive.

This project challenges the current approach to conservation and challenges the desert to be free in a place it has called home long before the human settled and claimed its identity as their own.

UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE + LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

LARC 503 / 504

ADJUNCT PROFESSOR SOPHIE MAGUIRE