Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15, Canada’s exhibition at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia, was honoured with a “Special Mention” at the Biennale’s awards ceremony on June 7 for “its in-depth study of how modernity adapts to a unique climatic condition and a local minority culture.”
The exhibit, which explores the past, present, and future of architecture in Nunavut (Canada’s youngest territory) was curated by Associate Professor Mason White, Lola Sheppard, and Matthew Spremulli (MArch 2011). Local community groups in Nunavut as well architects and architecture students from across Canada contributed to the display.
This year’s jury included Francesco Bandarin (President, Italy), Kunlé Adeyemi (Nigeria), Bregtje van der Haak (The Netherlands), Hou Hanru (China), and Mitra Khoubrou (United Arab Emirates).
The 14th International Architecture Exhibition was curated by Dutch Architect Rem Koolhaas, who chose the theme “Fundamentals.” The theme “exposes modernity as a vehicle for social, cultural and geopolitical transformations,” explains the Biennale's website. “It shows that modernity has not only been absorbed, but also adapted, rejected and critically transformed.” Forty countries participated in the exhibition.
Architecture critic Alex Bozikovic reviewed the Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 exhibit in this weekend’s Globe and Mail.
“It’s a region that is awe-inspiring in its beauty and its complexity and its strangeness,” says Lateral’s Lola Sheppard. She and fellow principal Mason White have visited Nunavut dozens of times over the past five years, researching the history and the current state of the territory’s communities and buildings, and they see important challenges in its profound state of flux.
The Inuit “have gone from igloos to the Internet in 60 years,” Sheppard says. “We’re trying to establish what a Canadian Arctic urbanism would look like. I don’t think we know what that is yet, at least in [Nunavut].”
“A building is just one piece of any architectural design. This philosophy reflects Lateral Office’s approach to its work, part of a broad movement in the profession toward what’s called “social architecture.” “It’s about motivating a new approach to design,” White says, “one that responds more directly to culture and environment.”
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The Daniels Faculty would like to extend its congratulations to the team at Lateral Office on its exhibition and the recognition that it has received.
- Mason White and Lateral Office chosen to represent Canada at the 2014 Venice Biennale
- U of T's Mason White and Lateral Office at Venice Biennale
- Architecture embraces the Canadian arctic at upcoming Venice Biennale
- Venice Biennale exhibition, Arctic Adaptations, explores how architectural design can enhance daily life in Nunavut
- Mason White works with Nunavut carvers to produce stone models of arctic buildings for the 2014 Venice Biennale