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Preservation architect speaks Thursday at Fetzer

Nov. 7, 2007

KALAMAZOO--A famous professor of architecture and author of the award-winning book "Tilting" is coming to the Western Michigan University campus early this month to talk about his groundbreaking work tying architecture to culture and history.

The full title of Dr. Robert Mellin's breakthrough book, which won the Winterset Literary Award in 2003, is "Tilting: House Launching, Slide Hauling, Potato Trenching and Other Tales from a Newfoundland Fishing Village." Mellin will talk about it and his other projects at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium. His presentation is free and open to the public.

Mellin is an associate professor in the McGill University School of Architecture and a registered architect. "Tilting" is based on his study of a village on the remote island of Fogo, eight miles off the Eastern coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The name Fogo comes from the Portuguese "fuego," which means fire, and describes the island's rocky barrenness.

Tilting is one of 11 isolated villages on the island and home to about 350 Irish descendents, who fish and farm in Tilting's harsh environment. Mellin's book gives readers a look inside the homes and lives of Tilting's rugged inhabitants. He also intersperses his book with renderings of houses, outbuildings, tools, boats and furniture, as well as compelling photographs he and Tilting residents shot. The book struck a popular culture nerve after its release, as many readers enjoyed learning about the frontier-like community and its people.

Mellin's visit is sponsored by the WMU Department of History and the Canadian studies and environmental studies programs.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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