Each section of ASC 201 has been allocated a wandering line in the city of Toronto. Students were asked to carry out four tasks in relation to that line for this first project of the winter semester:

  • Walk the line. Spend a few hours in the cold January weather walking the line. Follow the line from beginning to end and then back again. Go with a friend, go back alone. Talk to people. Get a coffee. Document what you find in photographs, sketches, notes, sound recordings.

  • Make an object. Make an assemblage from objects you have collected on your walk. Everything in the assemblage (except glue) must be found on the line. Objects can be purchased, scavenged, found. The assemblage you make should tell us something about the line and should be no larger than 200mmx300mmx300mm high. All objects used in the assemblage should be documented in their original location on the line using photography.

  • Write a story. Write a story about the line. Like all good stories, it should focus on one or more characters you encounter on your walks, and the story should tell us something important you have discovered. The story should take no more than five minutes to tell.

  • Draw it. Using the conventions of architectural drawing, - plan, section, elevation and so on - prepare a single drawing of your assemblage as an occupied structure. In order to do this you will need to consider (among other things) the following: Where is the assemblage to be situated? It should be somewhere along your line. What is the scale of the assemblage? In other words, how big is it? How will people use the structure? What will they do in, on and around it? What needs to be added, beyond the assemblage you have built, in order to allow this occupation?

The Goldfish in the River

It was between a field of elephants and the prairies where horses galloped that the river ran rampant. The river rushed straight towards the sunrise and took a sharp turn north as it met with the earth. Right where the river began to move chaotically was where a community of creatures nestled themselves. There resided small goldfish, fast salmon, large whales, and wise turtles. One day a twinkling object danced its way rapidly down the river and it caught the eye of a small and curios goldfish. It was nothing like this goldfish had ever seen before. Maybe it was his curious nature, his spontaneity, or his foolishness that made the fish follow the shiny object down the river. Whatever it was, the fish followed eagerly. The fish was curious as to where the object was going in such a hurry and it kept steadily alongside it. It never touched the object only observed how it danced with the moving current. The object twinkled in the light of the river in a way that the fish wasn’t familiar with. As the two tumbled down every bend together they came across a group of whales, the biggest the goldfish had ever seen. This part of the river was filled with only whales, none of the other creatures that he had been surrounded by his entire life. The gargantuan whales were feasting on krill as the water brushed by them. As the goldfish and his object moved along the river a large whale approached them.

“Little fish what are you doing downstream?” one of the whales asked as it followed the two down the river.
“You see I was following this twinkly object, I’ve never seen anything like it and was curious as to where it was going in such a hurry!” the fish replied.
“Well that’s no ordinary twinkle on that object little fish, that object sparkles like gold,”

“Gold?” questioned the fish.

“Yes, of course! It doesn’t twinkle quite as bright as what I have in my realms but I’m sure it’s the same twinkle of that of gold.”

“Well do you know where it’s going?” replied the fish.

“Oh, I’m sure if it’s following the stream it’s going nowhere important. I don’t know of anything that has been pushed by the river to ever come back,” the whale said, as it turned to where all of the other whales had stayed to watched the goldfish and the golden object continue to move with the river.

The river began to bend and the goldfish noticed the river narrowing and little trinkets trapped along the dirt walls. No creatures were in this part of the river, it was cold and barren. Regardless it kept moving with the golden object. As the river slowed it still pushed the fish and his object strongly with it. The fish dawned apon a group of turtles situated where the river narrowed almost to where it disappeared into the sky. As the goldfish neared the turtles one of them approached,

“What brings you so far from home little one?” the turtle asked.

“Well you see I was following this  olden object; I wasn’t sure where it was going or why!”

“Gold?” the turtle remarked.

“Yes! One of the whales was telling me that it’s gold, it twinkles dimly but he was certain it was golden.”

“I’m sure it  winkles because its gold, but that object is an elephant for sure. I have lived long enough to recognize an elephants trunk when I see one.”

“It must be a golden elephant; I still don’t know where it’s going in such a hurry.” Said the fish frustrated.

As the two kept floating along and the river became narrower the goldfish noticed even more objects stuffed into the walls that were narrowing in. And as the river met with the land and the goldfish moved along with it, the golden elephant sank into the floor of the river, never to be seen again. In absolute shock, the goldfish looked around to where he had ended up. No longer focused on the intriguing golden elephant the fish was at the end of the river surrounded by turtles and objects stuffed in the walls. The goldfish looked at the turtles and slightly dissatisfied with the disappearing elephant said:

“Well I’m not sure that I can follow the golden elephant any further, it must be time to head back home.”

The turtle hesitated to reply but stuttered. “Little fish did no one warn you about the power of the river?” he paused “The river pushes creatures like us out, as the edge of the river expands with the sky. It pushes with no return, in all of my years I have yet to see any of us turtles be able to swim against its current.”

The fish thought for a moment, puzzled and stunned. It hadn’t thought about what it was leaving behind until that moment. It thought about the salmon and whales that it had grown up with and how the salmon with its fast fins was able to jump against the river and how the whales with their large bodies would act like damns against the rampant flows.

And with hope the little goldfish said “Well where I am from, I’ve seen lots of creatures push against the river.”

The turtle replied,
“Well you’ll have to show us little fish, we’ve never seen anything come close to going against the river, it’s rampant flows have only ever kept us close to the lands ends, if we had it our way we would go back to where we grew up too.”

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.