“Living lightly on the earth:” building an Ark for Prince Edward Island, 1974-76
Built in 1976 by Solsearch Architects and the New Alchemy Institute as “an early exploration in weaving together the sun, wind, biology and architecture for the benefit of humanity,” the PEI Ark was conceived as a “bioshelter” integrating ecological design features to provide autonomous life support for a family. Opening day mixed counterculture together with official culture: Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Premier Alex Campbell, Whole Earth Catalog compiler Stewart Brand, and hundreds from PEI’s counterculture settlements, and the neighboring traditional communities. Thousands more would visit the Ark over its short life. This website, along with the accompanying book and exhibition, explores the story of the Ark for PEI, and its architectural vision of life led in collaboration with nature.
The PEI Ark Catalogue offers a selection of documents and research materials about the Ark – its conception, development, and operation – along with stories about the research process. It also offers the opportunity for anyone who experienced the Ark to share their stories, photographs, and other materials, through the “Share Your Story” page and the gallery. We invite you to take part in celebrating the 40th anniversary of this visionary project.
Exhibition: October 2016 – April 2017 at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown PE; September – December 2019 at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton NB; 04 March – 17 April 2022 at the Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax NS.
Book: Dalhousie Architectural Press, published February 2018; available at bookstores through the UBC Press or order online at Amazon
sm – 2022.03.16