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“Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15” to represent Canadian Pavilion at 2014 Venice Biennale
Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2014 |

After being selected in a juried national competition back in March, the Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 exhibition will represent the Canadian Pavilion in the upcoming 2014 Venice Biennale. The timely exhibition will also mark the 15th anniversary of Nunavut, Canada's youngest territory.

Curated by Lateral Office of Toronto, "Arctic Adaptations" will examine the complex relationship that modernism has had with Nunavut's indigenous communities throughout the last century, and the innovative ways they have responded to those changes.

The exhibition will also showcase five themed proposals that explore the various aspects of Nunavut's evolving architectural, social, and cultural landscape.

Find more details below.

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Rendering of Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 in the Canadian Pavilion. Image courtesy of Lateral Office

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Rendering of Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 in the Canadian Pavilion. Image courtesy of Lateral Office

"Few places exemplify the ability to adapt in the face of modernity better than Nunavut. Coinciding with the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the territory, which changed Canada’s map, Arctic Adaptations explores modernism’s legacy within the contextual particularities of the North. The exhibition documents architectural history in this remarkable but relatively unknown region of Canada, describes the contemporary realities of life in its communities, and examines a projected role for architecture moving forward.

It argues that modern Inuit cultures continue to evolve and merge the traditional and the contemporary in unique and innovative ways, and questions whether architecture, which has largely failed this region—both technically and socially—can be equally innovative and adaptive."

A series of twelve carvings were commissioned from local Inuit artists to document key Nunavut buildings and typologies from the 20th century; image courtesy of Lateral Office

Click above image to view slideshow
A series of twelve carvings were commissioned from local Inuit artists to document key Nunavut buildings and typologies from the 20th century; image courtesy of Lateral Office

"As Nunavut celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2014, Arctic Adaptations simultaneously reflects on this rapid modernization and presents innovative architecture proposals by five design teams. Each team is made up of a Canadian school of architecture, a Canadian architecture office with extensive northern experience, and a Nunavut-based organization. Each team’s proposal examines one theme—housing, health, education, arts, or recreation—and is rooted in Nunavut’s distinct land, climate and culture."

Gordon Robertson Educational Centre, Papineau Gerin-Lajoie LeBlanc, 1973, Iqaluit, NU, Canada. Photograph courtesy of Guy Gerin-Lajoie.

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Gordon Robertson Educational Centre, Papineau Gerin-Lajoie LeBlanc, 1973, Iqaluit, NU, Canada. Photograph courtesy of Guy Gerin-Lajoie.

"They reflect local traditions of migration, mobility and seasonality and respond to regional as well as local realities, including climate change, economic transformations, and a young and rapidly growing population.

Arctic Adaptations includes animated architectural models of each proposal. Each of Nunavut’s 25 communities are represented with a topographic model and photograph. Specially commissioned soapstone carvings document important modernist buildings in Nunavut from the past 100 years."

Rendering of Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 in the Canadian Pavilion. Image courtesy of Lateral Office

Click above image to view slideshow
Rendering of Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 in the Canadian Pavilion. Image courtesy of Lateral Office

"Arctic Adaptations responds directly to the theme of the 14th International Architecture Exhibition: Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014. Modernity is often fearful of the specificities of place and the premise of ‘the local’. Yet Nunavut—a place with little to no daylight in certain seasons, temperatures averaging below freezing, no roads between communities, and a people that live out on the land—seems to resist modernism’s universalizing tendency."

Arctic Bay; photo by Bobby Kilabuk, 2014

Click above image to view slideshow
Arctic Bay; photo by Bobby Kilabuk, 2014

"This unique exhibition seeks to reveal acts of architectural resistance and identify an unrecognized modern Canadian North. Proposals focus on the fundamentals of human habitation in the North and offer ideas of how architectural design can enhance daily life.

A broadly accessible publication, called Many Norths: Spatial Practices in a Shifting Territory, will accompany Arctic Adaptations. After the exhibition returns from Venice it will tour Canada extensively in 2015-17."

Click the thumbnails below for more images.

Arctic Adaptations Team Map. Image courtesy of Arctic Adaptations exhibition Portrait of Lateral Office members. Photo courtesy of Arctic Adaptations exhibition


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