rooted in theory

At Brackish, we believe in balancing our practice with participation in academia and the broader design community. Matthew and Sandra’s teaching appointments and speaking engagements throughout the North-east allow us to take part in current design discourse beyond our own borders, thus ensuring that the work of our practice is both progressive and contemporary, yet contextual and local. It is through these diverse experiences that we share our passion for Atlantic Canada while also gaining a much deeper appreciation for what makes our home region so unique.

The work of Brackish is deeply rooted in two distinct contemporary design theories:

critical regionalism | unique vs. the generic

Industrialization, globalization, commodification, modernization, and urbanization bring forth questions of resilience in our innately rural context. The theory of Critical Regionalism brought forth by Kenneth Frampton is an overt rejection of the homogeneity derived from the impacts of universal civilization. Instead of creating developments that favour the bulldozing of sites to a precondition of placelessness, critical regionalism favours the peculiarities of site that celebrate an autochthonous culture. This idea is at the core of Brackish Studio’s work. We place the highest priority on the intrinsic value of the local, creating design solutions that favour the unique over the generic.

ecological urbanism | landscape foundation

The foundation of Atlantic Canada’s history and culture is built upon our unique relationship with the varied landscapes of our coastal region. For centuries, Maritimers have had a symbiotic relationship with the land. The theory of Ecological Urbanism highlights the importance of this relationship between our built and natural environments, promoting design innovation that according to author Mohsen Mostafavi “incorporates and accommodates the inherent confliction conditions between ecology and urbanism.” As Landscape Architects, this theory is of utmost importance, understanding the complexity of regional ecologies and utilizing them to better inform our built environments. For Brackish, this in-depth understanding of ecologies informs sustainable design solutions that are performative in nature. Landscape becomes infrastructure.