Biffy: DogWood Estate, Kimberley, Ontario
DESIGN TEAM Peter Ferguson, Thomas Malolepsy, Christopher Knight, David Robinson
PHOTOS Peter Ferguson
COMPLETION DATE April 1, 2020
Ventcap is an homage to the flattop barnroof ventilators used by Central Ontario Mennonites since the late18th century.
With the rampant illiteracy of the 1700s, North American outhouses, based on ancient symbology, carried a sun or star emblem – pierced through the door to provide light and ventilation – for men’s biffies and a crescent moon (signifying the goddess Diana) for the women’s. Men being men and women, women, the men’s commodes quickly decayed, and the moon was left as the standard symbol. Here, it is relocated and repurposed as a door pull.
In 1835, German chemist Justus von Liebig developed a process for applying a thin layer of metallic silver to one side of a pane of clear glass. Portable toilets (this is recovered from one) began to incorporate mirrors in the 1990s.
Biffy is Work One of NeoPostModernism, founded by Malolepsy and Ferguson, who established NeoModernism in 1978.
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