Very little has been done on the study of architecture in Canada’s north but increasingly architects and historians are aware of the fascinating architecture in Canada’s territories. In 2014, an exhibition entitled Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 (www.arcticadaptations.ca) shed light on architecture in Canada’s youngest territory, shown at the 2014 Venice Architectural Biennale and in galleries throughout Canada in 2015 and 2016. This project explores relevant modern themes, like health, education and housing, making it very clear to the observer that attention paid to the architectural development in this region of Canada has not been enough in order to create buildings that are both functional and integrated into the landscape and culture of Inuit territory.
Integrating elements from historical narratives, present needs and future directions, the project ideas put forth in this exhibition reveal the kinds of issues that need to be explored when approaching northern architecture for the modern world: buildings must respond to culture, climate and changing economic and social structures in order to appropriately serve their users. Nowhere is this more important than in an area like Nunavut where both cultural and climate change have made for radically different circumstances for building than even fifty years ago.
This exhibit and its website provide an excellent looking into contemporary architecture and architectural ideas in Nunavut, especially for those unfamiliar with the north, its building program and potential for innovative growth.
Emily Turner, SSAC/SÉAC Representative for Nunavut