Richard Kroeker


Birchbark Canoe

Halifax, Nova Scotia

The design of the birch bark canoe is as current as when it was developed. Tools used in the making of birch bark canoes from sites in Canada have been dated back at least ten thousand. The building of this canoe marked the move from London UK to Nova Scotia. The canoe was built together with students at Dalhousie School of Architecture (then Technical University of Nova Scotia). It was built with materials from local surrounding forests: birch bark, spruce root binding, spruce ribs, maple gunwales and thwarts, spruce gum caulking. The information required to build a canoe are embedded in the process itself; each step in the construction process forms the template for the subsequent step. This examination of an ancient design was a major influence on subsequent project, in terms of how to understand the information embedded in the material and the process. The documentary work of Edwin Tappan Adney was a major source of information in reconstructing this design. Adney, Edwin Tappan & Chapelle, Howard, The Bark and Skin Boats of North America. Smithsonian Institution. 1964, Washington D.C.