Rosseau Lake College (RLC)


Rosseau Lake College (RLC) is a registered not-for-profit independent university preparatory school located in a 55 acre picturesque lakefront setting in Muskoka, a popular vacation destination with a rich settler legacy. The campus is interspersed with residential uses, educational buildings, recreational areas, athletic spaces, and ecological places. For more information on RLC follow the web link

In 2015, the RLC Board of Directors created a growth plan called Future Forward that builds on current strengths of the school and propositions a new personalized learning curriculum. The plan also aims to strengthen community and industry connections while developing its standing relationship with the Wahta (Bala) and Wasauksing (Parry Sound) First Nations communities.

Project Team: Craig Crane, Marcin Kedzior, Saksham Sharma, Jonathan Scharf, Liam Thornewell, Ashley McNair, Bronwyn Colford, Jocelyn Hajash, Eliot Callaghan.

2016 Activities

In collaboration with RLC faculty and students, our team developed a bottom-up speculative Master Plan that presents a differentiated RLC profile for the general promotion of the school, its capabilities, and its new paradigm. Our Master Plan recommends strengthening campus connections to the lake and the development of new housing accommodations for students and faculty to support growth projections. The built form aspect of the Master Plan focuses on 4 components: the Main Entry, a new Housing precinct, a new Campus Commons, and a Community Hub. We have broken the plan down into manageable aspects to be executed over a 10 year period.

Our major planning move involved proposing a campus commons which we have named the Knot, a metaphor about interweaving and reverence for the natural setting. The parti for this area is a simple linear plaza consisting of earthen buildings defining an outdoor spine descending down the natural terrain to the lake. The spine will act as an open space for the college and an amenity for public use intermixed with nodes and lookout elements punctuated by rooftop platforms, steps, terraces, and courtyards.

We also designed and built a 1:1 outdoor experiential learning social space and outdoor classroom erected as a symbol of change at RLC. It is located in the midst of the proposed Campus Commons, or Knot space.

In collaboration with MOS Architects, we speculated on a vision for the new Housing Precinct proposed in our Master Plan. The scheme suggests a landscape-based vision of a place of living in the forest set back from the lake to retain maintain the riparian edge. The design suggests series of green micro-green modules (pods) nestled into the woods connected by social and shared use spaces. The materials and tectonics make archetypal connections to the local vernacular: the Lean-To typology as well as the rocks, docks, and trees.


We are currently meeting the RLC Board of Directors to develop a strategy for building out the Master Plan over a ten year period. The build-out is proposed as an evolutionary and joint design exercise between RLC, SDBU, STUDIO C2, and its allied professionals. We are gearing up to build a Faculty Housing Prototype in the summer of 2018.


Arkana Peru

The Site

Arkana Peru is located on the thermal river “Aguas calientes” (hot waters) in the region of Huánuco in the province of Puerto Inca approximately sixty kilometers by road outside of the Upper Amazonian city of Pucallpa in Peru. The 10 hectare site of Amazonian rainforest terrain overlooks a thermal river proximate to mountain sierra and river valleys with access to clean drinking water from the thermal river and innumerable cold water springs. 

Local Building Traditions

Traditional building techniques make the most of readily available materials such as local wood and palm tree leaves used for thatching, which are well suited to absorbing the intermittent heavy rains in the jungle. Ideally the buildings will be built out of Amazonian hardwoods, the best materials to adapt to the environment and resist insects. However, it has become customary to use softer woods and treat the wood with insect resistant coatings.

The climate tends to be warm and humid all year around. Hence the buildings are light and open to the breeze with large fenestrations and mosquito mesh. Vernacular buildings are generally built on stilts to accommodate the change in water level in certain lower lying areas and taking into account the rise in the river and the possible impact of this on building and soil erosion.

2015 SDBU Summer Studio Activities

In 2015, our team mapped out the site and topography with the aid of local builders and engineers. We investigated local vernacular buildings and created a preliminary site plan to guide activities during the early phases of the project.

Project Team: Craig Crane, Angela O’Hara, Mauro Reatigue Perez, Rebecca Reed, Elizabeth O’Neill, Yuan Chun Liu

2016 SDBU Summer Studio Activities

Our team designed the Provisional Building, a multi-functional building meant to act as the administrative “hub” of the Centre and a way-finding element to punctuate the point of arrival at Arkana Peru. Its spatial program allows for administrative functions, pedagogical activities, and accommodations. The building form is an allegory for the knotted, tangled relationship between man and nature. Like nature, the buildings rules (functions) can be flexible and adaptable. On one hand, the shuttered version of the building stands as a pure cube aesthetic situated in a sloped jungle clearing, contrasted with the sensory splendor of nature. Contrarily, when occupied its skin can unfold like an organism from a seed within, with interior vivid textile fabrics, crafted by local artisans, revealing themselves as part of the landscape. The pavilion typology aspires to reinvent local traditions by recalling primitive hut and stilted building vernacular. In the style of platform and stilted architecture, the simplified geometric expression is presented as a series of platforms rising up out of the slope.

Project Team: Craig Crane, Angela O’Hara, Mauro Reatigue Perez, Rebecca Reed, Yuan Chun Liu

The idea of Tambo clusters                                                                 Treehouse by Takashi Kobayashi (Japan)

The idea of Tambo clusters                                                                 Treehouse by Takashi Kobayashi (Japan)

2017 SDBU Summer Studio Activities

Barracco (Ricardo Palma University) and a student cohort to be determined (that’s you!)

Our team will be challenged to evolve the 2015 preliminary Master Plan based on new information about the site gathered by local engineers and students from NYIT’s sustainable energy program. We will also be meeting with the engineer and local builders to finalize details for the construction of the Provisional Building. Predominantly, we will be concentrating on the development of design concepts for the next phase of the project, the Tambos.

Tambos (Tree Houses)

Tambos take their names from the traditional solitary cabanas installed deep in the jungle for the purpose of dieting with plant medicines. The Arkana Peru Tambos will be dispersed throughout the jungle in clusters to function as residential spaces that facilitate reflection, meditation and creative work. The isolation allows individuals to detoxify from the stress of modernity and regain rhythm with nature.

Project Team: Craig Crane, Angela O’Hara, Mauro Reatigue Perez, Patrick Quiov, Patricia Kean (NYIT), Juvenal