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Mushkegowuk Project | One Bowl at Work With First Nations Housing

5 duplexes, 5 weeks, delivered over 1,000km away. The Mushkegowuk Project epitomizes One Bowl’s dedication to empowering Indigenous Communities through economic participation and innovative solutions. This collaboration with multiple First Nation Communities, their economic development corporation, local hardware store, and Boréal (Thermolog technology) addresses pressing challenges in remote regions of Northern Ontario. Together, we've embarked on a journey to deliver custom-designed, climate-resilient housing solutions, navigating through logistical hurdles and geographical barriers to ensure that localized teams are ready for the upcoming build season.

Map of Ontario with One Bowl Logo and Mushkegowuk Project Map

Customizing for Cultural Fit

The Mushkegowuk Project was not just about constructing buildings; it was about creating homes that would withstand the harsh northern climate and provide comfort, cultural appropriateness and security to the families who call them their own. Culturally appropriate housing for First Nations is a deeply nuanced concept, shaped by the unique traditions, values, and aspirations of each community. Rather than imposing generic housing models, we work with Communities to prioritize designs that accommodate their needs independently and at scale. Cultural appropriateness is about providing choice while ensuring accessibility, safety, affordability, and comfort for all residents and the Community at large.  

With the support of Boréal, we designed five custom duplexes measuring 80 feet by 30 feet each. These duplexes, totalling 2400 square feet (1200 square feet per unit), were meticulously crafted to include three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a mechanical room, an enclosed mudroom, and an open-concept kitchen/living room area.

Floor Plan for Duplexes

What truly sets the Mushkegowuk Project apart, is the innovative technology and materials used in its construction. Each building is insulated to the highest standards, with wall insulation boasting an impressive R-30 rating, ensuring optimal energy efficiency and comfort for its occupants. The roof insulation is even more remarkable, starting at an impressive R-45 and reaching upwards of R-65, providing unparalleled protection against the biting cold and relentless snow of the north. We were able to get from design to delivery with Engineer’s stamps in a short 5 weeks.

Business Model At Work

One Bowl employee with train and houses packaged for delivery

One Bowl's approach to the Mushkegowuk Project went beyond just providing housing; it was about fostering local involvement and ownership in every step of the process. From the custom design tailored to the specific needs of the community to the participation of local businesses in the construction material procurement process, the project exemplified our commitment to Indigenous economic participation and capacity building.

The logistics of the project were equally impressive. With the buildings destined for communities accessible only via ice roads, tight deadlines and logistical challenges were ever-present. Yet, thanks to the dedication and expertise of the teams at One Bowl and Boréal, the buildings were completed in record time, ready to be transported to their remote destinations before the ice melts.

The production and delivery timeframe sounds impressive in itself, however the true success can be found in the communities abilities to self supply and tap into local businesses for the project. Through shared ownership in a local building centre - and guidance from our construction team - each community self supplied roughly 70% of project outfittings and finishings.

Candace Larsen, One Bowl

Forging Forward

As we celebrate the successful launch of the Mushkegowuk Project, we look to the future with optimism and determination. Together with the First Nations Communities of Fort Albany, Kashechewan, and Attawapiskat we look forward to these next few months for construction to begin. The Mushkegowuk Project is not just a testament of accomplishment; it is a promise of what we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal: building for future generations with First Nations people.

Stay tuned as our journey continues with the Mushkegowuk Project in building homes and community capacity this summer.


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