Chéticamp Farmers' Market

This pavilion is the latest completed project created by a design-build team of undergraduate and graduate students from Dalhousie University. This project was donated to the small coastal community of Cheticamp, Nova Scotia to provide a permanent home for their weekly farmers’ market. Our primary design objectives were to use accessible building materials and methodologies, to advance the local building culture, and to provide a central destination for the community. 

A gridshell structure was chosen for its unique strength in spanning and its curving form that contrasts with the vernacular building culture of the area. The design of the pavilion also responds to the environmental factors of the region: hurricane force winds that reach up to 200 km/h, and the high mois­ture and salt content of the ocean air, which can be corrosive to some materials. The strong wind forces led us to design custom high-performance base connections to attach the gridshell to the concrete. They also informed the orientation of the pavilion – the form shelters inhabitants from the wind, and the cladding was strategically placed to reduce uplift. The structure further draws upon the strong local boat-building and woodworking culture. It uses locally sourced greenwood (red oak), and echoes the bentwood forms of the region.

The completed pavilion consists of two concrete walls with a gridshell spanning them. It has a long crescent plan with openings on either end to allow for easy circulation. The pavilion includes a built-in bench that runs along the back wall and 20 stalls for merchants. The curve of the gridshell also provides a wooden band shell for local events. As a whole, the building has a low ecological footprint, and requires minimal maintenance.

The success of the farmers’ market pavilion can be measured through its continued contribution to local life. Community involvement began with public consultations during design development. We facilitated events that identified the needs of local merchants and community leaders and considered the overall purpose and aesthetic. Local labor persisted from the start of construction to opening day, allowing local methodologies to translate themselves into building details. Since completion, the weekly market count has more than doubled. Acting as a central node in the town, the building has inspired new development and creative engagement in public space. 

Images and Plans


Technical Description


· A crescent shape with a 20m back wall, 10m front wall, 5m side openings, and 3.5m height

· 84 continuous lath members springing from front wall to back wall, with standard 2”X3” wood cross-sections, made of greenwood (red oak)

· Loctite HB E452 greenwood to wood glue (imported from Sweden)

· Hysol 9492 two-part wood to steel epoxy (imported from the United States)


Project Context
Project Type
Community / Culture | Agriculture / Foresting / Gardening
Construction Methods/Techniques