Back to top

05.21.14 – Venice Biennale exhibition, Arctic Adaptations, explores how architectural design can enhance daily life in Nunavut

Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15, the Canadian exhibition at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, surveys a recent architectural past, a current urbanizing present, and a projective near future of adaptive architecture in Nunavut.

Organized by Lateral Office — the firm led by Daniels Faculty Associate Professor Mason White, Lola Sheppard, and Alumnus Matthew Spremulli — the exhibition will be on display at the Canada Pavilion from June 7  to November 23, 2014.

Nunavut, which means “our land”, is Canada’s newest, largest, and most northerly territory. It separated from the Northwest Territories on April 1, 1999 following a hard-fought land claims agreement established in 1993. Today, there are almost 33,000 people living in 25 communities across two million square kilometres, making Nunavut one of the least densely populated regions in the world. These communities, located above the tree line and with no roads connecting them, range in population from 120 in the smallest hamlet to 7,000 in Nunavut’s capital city of Iqaluit. The climate, geography, and people of Nunavut, as well as the wider Canadian Arctic, challenge the viability of a universalizing modernity.

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. 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.

For more information, download a PDF of the press release from Kriss Communications.