mattsy ¶ studio

Articles & Current Research

Articles that focus on architecture, material culture, maintenance, and learning how to appreciate what you already have. Written by Matt C Reynolds.


Articles & Current Research

Here I publish articles that focus on architecture, material culture, maintenance, and learning how to appreciate what you already have.

Browse by category: Architectural Conservation, Conferences, Design+Build, Films & Interviews, The Maintenance Series or View All


Second Obstruction: The Short Film


Second Obstruction: Design, Prototype, Build

A two week design + build course for Dalhousie Architecture.
Shot on location on Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec.

Since returning from the Islands, I have been working hard to produce a 12 minute short film that that investigates the design+build process, and explores what it is like working as a team of architecture students on a remote island.

The Second Obstruction is a two week Design + Build course led by Professor Roger Mullin that took place between July 16-27 on Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. The installation is a Land Art piece described as a type of “proto-architecture”. The project is the second in a series of iterations led by Mullin — “The Second Obstruction” — the same 80 Buoys were previously mapped on the Nova Scotia coastline, in Raftwerk, 2006 (view on Mullin's own website). Below the film you will find a transcript that depicts the questions and respondents. I hope you enjoy it!

Plot Summary

Arriving on Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec with a limited number of tools, materials and budget, The Second Obstruction follows eleven architecture students during a two week design and build project lead by professor Roger Mullin of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Drawing on the work of other land artists like Robert Smithson, Richard Long and Mary Miss, the project plants the seed for a certain kind of experience as an architectural response to landscape and site. The design and installation of the piece was guided by a tuning process, where a single 380 foot line of rope was manipulated to make it the shape and dimension it needed to be. The structural design — the armature — is act of architecture, as is its placement in the landscape. “It is a great part of and education of an architect— I would argue that it is almost an essential part”, Roger Mullin.


00:46 | Roger Mullin: Introduction
00:58 | RM: What is “Free Lab”?
02:45 | RM: Where did the Free Lab take place, and what was the inspiration?
03:29 | Guillaume Turbide: Coming to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec
04:40 | GT: What was your role in actualizing the Free Lab and Project?
05:52 | RM: What sorts of work were you able to reference as precedents?
07:05 | RM: What were the guiding principles of the project?
08:25 | Adam Sparks: What was it like to put your architectural education into practice?
09:45 | AS: How would you describe working 1:1 and physically building the project?
10:40 | RM: What are your thoughts about of these "Obstructions"? 

Students that Participated:

Graduate Level

Tyler Fissel
Matt Reynolds
Alex Vanderlee
Samuel Walther-Battista

Undergraduate Level

Cassie Burhoe
David Burlock
Charles Freeman
Daniel Jolivet
Kyle Smith-Windsor
Adam Sparkes
Guillaume Turbide

Thank you Guillaume Turbide and family for allowing us to use your land and facilities!

Freelance work for Designer: The Journey
Cinematographer + Editor: Matt C. Reynolds

Music Credits: 
Beach House - On the Sea
Parov Stellar - The Beach