Inside “Arctic Adaptations” – Special Mention Winner at the Venice Biennale 2014

© Nico Saieh

For this year’s Venice Biennale, the Canadian Pavilion explored the ways modernity was absorbed in the extreme environment of Nunavut, . As Nunavut is the newest, northernmost, and largest territory (with an area of over 2 million square kilometers) in , hoped to shed on light on what Mason White called “modernity at an edge.” Wowing the jury with their research and design, Arctic Adaptaptions: Nunavut at 15 garnered Mason White, Lola Sheppard, Matthew Spremulli, and their team a Special Mention during Saturday’s awards ceremony. 

The geographic and cultural “edgeness” of Nunavut is examined over different parts of the exhibition in three mediums: a recent past, a current present and a near future. Matthew Spremulli explained that Arctic Adaptions sought to “look beyond standards” to see how the fundamentals of architecture are impacted in an area like Nunavut. Given the specific and acutely unique challenges to building and designing in an environment that, understandably, resists being colonized by southern models, the curators presented a case for adaptation.

Venice Biennale 2014: Lateral Office to Represent Canada with Nunavut Exhibition

Rendering of Arctic Adaptations exhibition at Venice Pavilion © Lateral Office, 2013

The Council for the Arts and the Royal Architectural Institute of (RAIC) has announced “Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15″ as winner of a national juried competition to represent Canada at the 2014 Venice Biennale in ArchitectureLateral Office of Toronto will organize and curate an exhibition designed to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Canada’s largest but least populated northern territories, known for its pristine arctic wilderness and Inuit lifestyle.

Read more about Canada’s contribution to the Biennale after the break.

Warming Huts v.2013 Proposal / Lateral Office

Courtesy of

Toronto-based practice Lateral Office has shared with us their proposal for the Warming Huts v.2013 competition, entitled “Drift-Pass”. Inspired by the act of manipulating a snow fence, the plywood pavilion offers ice skaters shelter alongside the longest naturally frozen trail in the world in , Manitoba. Continue reading for the architects’ description.

Klaksvik City Center / LCLAOFFICE + Lateral Office

© LCLAOFFICE +

Last week, we shared LCLAOFFICEs conceptual proposal for the Kiev Islands, a proposal which connected the urban with the natural through an activated network of activities.  In their shortlisted entry for the , the firm teamed with Lateral Office to relink the city of Klaksvik with both of its bays.  Such a move allows the urban development, which has historically happened along the length of the bay, and the civic and public institutions, which have been concentrated in an urban corridor, to connect people with the water.

More after the break.

Arctic Food Network / Lateral Office

© Lateral Office

Recent recipient of the 2011 Holcim Gold Award for the North American region, Lateral Office’s Arctic Food Network is a series of strategically distributed shelters addressing food security, biological and wildlife species management, and provides a safe navigation system across Baffin Island in , Canada.

Architect: Lateral Office
Location: Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada
Collaborators: InfraNet Lab, Dr. Claudio Aporta
Advisor: Nunavut Department of Culture, Language, Elders, and Youth
Project Team: Mason White, Lola Sheppard, Nikole Bouchard, Fionn Byrne
Start of Construction: May 2012
Images: Lateral Office

Continue reading for more detailed information and images.