Dwell - CODAworx


Submitted by Brandon Vickerd

Client: City of Ottawa, Public Art Program

Location: Ottawa , ON, Canada

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $220,000

Project Team

Lead Artist

Brandon Vickerd

Lead fabricator

Mike Bilk

Lafontaine Ironwerks


Rendered in steel and cantilevered forty feet above the ground, Dwell is a captivating sculpture that assimilates the very ordinary form of a house and recasts it in a form that stresses the extraordinary. Dwell explores what remains when a town changes and the community evolves through time. Dwell is a representation of a farmhouse that originally stood on the project site for nearly 150 years and was eventually torn down to accommodate infrastructure development. By recalling this past structure the artwork engages in complex social histories and narratives that might not otherwise be acknowledged.
Date Completed: 2018 Dimensions: 7.5m x 13.5m x 7m Materials: Corten Steel
Budget: $225,000 Location: Barrhaven (Ottawa) Ontario


Commissioned by the City of Ottawa, the permanent public artwork Dwell was the result of a four-month long residency in the Barrhaven area. This residency period made an essential contribution to the development of the final artwork that addresses issues of history, gentrification, and collective identity. Vickerd approached this community based residency by connecting with the surrounding community through organized and informal events which included workshops, storytelling opportunities, citizen led tours of the area, and other socially engaged processes of research. These collected narratives formed the conceptual basis for the resulting artwork which engaged in complex social histories and narratives that might not otherwise be acknowledged. This collaborative community-based approach was a challenging experience that demanded flexibility and an open-minded approach to developing the artwork. This approach was ultimately rewarding because it resulted in a work of art that has social significance for the community and a sense of communal ownership emerged through the process.


The development of the final design of Dwell was developed through ongoing collaboration with the landscape architect and the general contractor responsible for the site, as well as my subcontracted engineer and the contracted fabricator on the project. In addition, due to the proximity to existing a existing hydro corridor and a Canadian National Railway track, extensive consultation with both these organizations was undertaken. This process included multiple redesigns of the artwork in order to address the concerns of all parties involved.