schemata studio



Generating New Economies for Outports

Port Union, Newfoundland, Canada

Fall 2015

The people of Newfoundland exude a strength of will clearly emblematic of the great pride they feel for their shared history and enduring heritage. While they have been identified in the past primarily by their industry of fishing, which has had periods of abundance and eventually one of massive decline, we look to a more nuanced view of what defines the character of outport communities  and their relationship to the land and sea.


Port Union is situated in the larger municipality known as Trinity Bay North on the Northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland. More than any other surrounding community, Port Union’s identity is inseparable from its heritage as the first union-built town in North America. The Fisherman’s Protective Union and its ancillary infrastructure are the heart of what makes this town so unique. In looking at ways to create ‘new economies,’ The Spaces In-Between are used to initiate a study of the idiosyncrasies of daily life in the outport after the fishery has been dismantled. Two approaches to the reuse of heritage structures become the impetus for a re-examination of the role history ought play in the future of the town. The provocations posed by these adaptations are meant to embody the ideals of innovation and collaboration on which the town was founded over 100 years ago.