The Welcome Wagon, beta tested in Almonte, Ontario, is a community settlement scheme which seeks to provide immigrant families the ability to maintain their strong cultural networks while also increasing their likelihood of employment, self-run businesses, home ownership and socioeconomic mobility. For this reason, the program is specifically geared towards new immigrants who are having trouble finding jobs and providing a sustainable income for their dependents. The Wagon is a recycled and re-purposed transport trailer which comes fitted with all the utilities a family of five would need to live in a trailer indefinitely, as well as the base construction material to build an 80m2 house.
The construction of the house is a team build exercise with the aim to shift the perception of ‘architecture without architects’ from anonymous to homonymous architecture, by encouraging meaningful creation through community mobilization. Immigrants are constantly put in difficult and/or crisis situations which push them to be highly receptive to community needs and efforts. This project seeks to celebrate these highly skilled and responsive individuals by channeling their strengths and virtues towards establishing a long-term sense of belonging and reinforcing individual identity through continuous communal knowledge which mobilizes this community in a multi-generational legacy.