Back to the Woods: The Seymour Forest College
University of British Columbia
School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Landscape Architecture VI
Design Studio Thesis

Thesis: Colin Jones
Advisor: Fionn Byrne

This project questions Vancouver’s cultural relationship with the forest, pushing it beyond the realm of recreation, management, extraction, and industry – towards a coexistence. Today, Vancouver is obsessed with looking at the forests recovering from industrial extractive logging on the North Shore Mountains. Consumption of this visual backdrop of nature, its views protected in bylaw and commodified in advertising, sustains the exploitation of the greater forest landscape which began with prioritizing the value of timber over all else in the woods.

On the site of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, the Seymour River is condemned to be dammed a second time, by mid-century, for an additional drinking water reservoir. Ancient groves and monoculture tree plantations alike will be removed or inundated, and recreational access likely limited. The following proposal, of a Seymour Forest College, is positioned as a counter-narrative to the plans in place for this continual extraction. Instead, students can live, interact, participate, and learn experientially through applying local knowledge and their labour towards a respectful relationship with and within the landscape of the forest.
Image Credits, Colin Jones.