Permanence & Impermanence: Architecture at the Edge

The earliest European structures on Fogo Island were built in the 1600s.

The globally-acclaimed contemporary architecture of Fogo Island Inn reflects the four-centuries-old vernacular structures and design aesthetics found on the Island. It is a place that is at once old and new.

Itineraries can include tours of the artist studios designed by Todd Saunders, visits to the Fogo Island Furniture Shop, and the national historic district of Tilting. The Island’s 10 distinctive outport communities offer an opportunity to understand the structures of the traditional fishery: stages, gear stores, fish flakes, and handmade wooden boats.

The “Architecture at the Edge” itinerary includes all meals in the Inn's award-winning dining room, two planned excursions and full use of the Inn's facilities. A two-night minimum applies (three-night minimum for June, July, August & September)

To reserve, call International Reservations at +1 709 658 3444, US & Canada Reservations at +1 855 268 9277 or email [email protected]


Sample Itinerary for a 4-night orientation to the old and the new

Day 1

Arrive on Fogo Island and let the island start to reveal itself on the 30-minute drive through outport communities as you make your way home to your refuge, Fogo Island Inn. Check into Fogo Island Inn; a traditional yet contemporary masterpiece of modern architecture and design. The Inn has been recently recognized as Andrew Harper’s 2015 Hideaway of the Year. Our welcoming staff will escort you to your suite where you will find views of one of the wildest and most powerful oceans in the world through your floor-to-ceiling windows.

After a delicious supper, screen a film in the Inn's cinema. Our suggestions for architecture lovers include Strange and Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island, The Shipping News, or the NFB's Fogo Process films.

Day 2

Begin the day with an introductory presentation in the Fogo Island Inn cinema with members of the team who worked directly on the design and construction phases of the artist studios and the Fogo Island Inn, followed by an insider’s tour of the Inn. That afternoon, encounter Robert Mellin’s Tilting and the Fogo Island Arts Squish studio. The Irish community of Tilting is architecturally fascinating, with numerous structures of interest including houses, stages, fences, and root cellars. Hike around Oliver’s Cove for breathtaking ocean views as well as a peek into community gardens. Also of interest in Tilting are the Lane House and Dwyer premises museums. Finally, learn about wood cutting and the fine craft of creating a proper wood pile. 

Visit the repurposed Society of United Fisherman’s (SUF) hall and the Excel Loyal Orange Lodge, both located near the Inn and built at the turn of the last century. Construction of the SUF Lodge began in 1909 and was completed in 1916. Along with being used for SUF meetings and related activities, the hall was available for social functions such as concerts, wedding receptions, “times” and sales of work organized by ladies’ church groups. Excel Loyal Orange Lodge No. 143 was formed in Barr’d Islands-Joe Batt’s Arm in December 1908 and was a cultural icon in the community and contributed much to the development of Joe Batt’s Arm and Barr’d Islands. These buildings remain important community assets, now respectively housing the Fogo Island Furniture Shop and the Wind and Waves Artisan’s Guild.

After lunch, walk or bicycle from Inn to the Brett House museum in Joe Batt’s Arm, which features siding made by a local fisherman with his pocket knife. Visit a root cellar along the way, and continue on through the community to see stages and stores, and buildings of the landwash and inshore fishery. Visit the Long Studio designed by Todd Saunders, and have a picnic lunch between the dramatic studio and the ocean. For those looking for more exercise, hike out to the Great Auk, a bronze tribute to this now extinct bird that looks out over The Funks. Others might choose to head back to the Inn for some reading & relaxing before a delicious, locally-sourced dinner in the Inn’s dining room.

Day 3

Head Southwest to Island Harbour and Deep Bay. You will briefly stop in Shoal Bay to visit St. Simon’s Church (which opened as a schoolhouse in 1939) and the Tower Studio, whose sculptural silhouette leans both forwards and backwards as it rises upward on the coastline. Continue past the Island’s centre to Island Harbour where you will get up close and personal with a beautiful, centuries-old fishing stage. Pass historic graveyards and gardens as you make your way to visit the Bridge studio in Deep Bay, located on the lichen-covered cliffs of a little skating pond called Handy Pond. A stop at the Marine Interpretation Centre, the former Fisherman’s Union Trading Company, offers insight into the commercial fishing architecture of the early 20th century. Journey back to the Inn for a quick nap before dinner, followed by a relaxing evening in the lounge.

Day 4

Spend your last full day learning about the traditional and contemporary furniture of the Island. Walter Peddle said it best: “Outport furniture is one of the most distinctive bodies of North American regional furniture. Perhaps its greatest value lies in the way it dramatically documents the culture of the remarkable people who made it. Outport furniture clearly reveals that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians admirably managed to eke out a living in a context where they simply had to be resourceful, have great stamina, and the courage to persevere in the face of seemingly endless adversity. Most importantly, they succeeded in doing so while retaining a sense of humour and a great capacity for sensitivity and warmth.” -Walter Peddle, The Dynamics of Outport Furniture Design.

Tour the Fogo Island Furniture Shop workshop and meet the talented carpenters behind these distinctive pieces of furniture. Alternative excursions could include: a boat building workshop; a visit to another community to gain a deeper understanding of a fish flake and a heritage home; a visit via boat to Little Fogo Islands; or a visit to the neighbouring Change Islands.

“Together with Saunders’s architecture, they have produced beautiful objects that carry a heavy burden, navigating between the traditional rhythms of outport life and the hyper-connectedness of global tourism… Seen from certain angles and in certain weather, the inn appears to be a lumbering ship, only temporarily at rest while waiting out a storm. Above all, it is a work of strong architecture, carefully attuned to its mission yet autonomous in its presence in this strange and wondrous place. It is an act of human culture that helps us to try and situate our own existence within a sublime landscape that defies comprehension”

-Domus Magazine, 2013


The Permanence & Impermanence itinerary includes all meals, two planned excursions and full use of the Inn's facilities. A two-night minimum applies (three nights in June, July, August & September). Please note that some excursions may be subject to additional fees. To reserve, call International reservations at +1 709-658-3444, US & Canada reservations at +1 855 268 9277 or email [email protected]  


View Printable Itinerary (PDF)

Available in all of our Seven Seasons