For thousands of years the Pacheedaht have lived on the West Coast of Vancouver Island Northwest of what is today Victoria within Port San Juan. It is only over the last century and a half that they have been moved to their current village on the Delta of the San Juan River from village sites dotted along the coast.
This location today is threatened by both the impacts of climate change and the risk of a devastating Tsunami. Whereas in the past the Pacheedaht would have moved freely within their territory the reserve system has limited their ability to relocate to a safer location. In 2015 the Pacheedaht acquired a parcel of land known as Browns Mountain, located approximately 180m above sea level and overlooking Port San Juan. PFS Studio was hired to help the Pacheedaht realize the potential of this new home through the planning and design of the future community. Central to the planning was the spatial relationships of cultural and community programming and the integration of landscape throughout providing access and opportunity for engagement by community members. Housing in this plan is arranged around a network of open spaces that will be animated by children’s play features, community gathering spaces, ritual spaces, and community gardens. The design of the future community is intended to be phased in a way that allows Pacheedaht to gradually build capacity and continue to improve opportunities for cultural practice as part of their everyday experiences.