When Architects Build Summer Camps, Everyone Wins

A Canadian nonprofit says outdoor education is a right

By Reuben Brody

When Architects Build Summer Camps, Everyone Wins
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28 August 2017

One of the many unfortunate realities of modern life is that access to nature has become more difficult as cities swell and country populations thin. And yet, meaningful access the outdoors is arguably the most important connection we have to our home planet.

But considering the high population density of urban and suburban dwellers, an entire section of our population is even more disconnected from the environment that's so important to our biological wellbeing. Your correspondent keeps perspective by remembering that our current situation of high speed cars and wifi is but a blip in sapien’s 200,000 year history, whereas much of history before that was much less comfortable, to say the least.

But there are good people who want to help provide outdoor access to otherwise lesser-mobile groups. On Gambier Island outside of Vancouver, Canada, there’s Camp Fircom, a special camp where underprivileged children get to experience nature in a set of stunning, off-the-grid cabins in the woods.

Like Outward Bound in the U.S., Fircom seeks to build sustainable communities and foster positive development through the healing wonders of Ma Earth.

camp fircom (7 images)

The project is part of the University of British Columbia’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture — hence why the buildings are attractive and design-forward. For instance, the Salamander (pictured) is a floating cabin that’s only accessible by foot. The cedar structure has two built-in, open-air bunks reminiscent of your childhood camp.

They also built an amphitheater for gatherings and events.

When in not in use as a summer camp, Fircom can be rented for weddings, vacations and retreats.

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