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

The Canada Council for the Arts and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced "Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15" as winner of a national juried competition to represent Canada at the 2014 Venice Biennale in Architecture. Lateral 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.

Rendering of Arctic Food Network structures © Lateral Office, 2012

According to the Canada Council for the Arts, Arctic Adaptations will present "innovative architecture proposals rooted in Nunavut's distinct land, climate and culture, reflecting local traditions of migration, mobility and seasonality." The exhibition also aims to explore how architecture may facilitate the development of vibrant Northern communities, especially in an Arctic that is facing more and more dramatic environmental, social and economic changes.

"This is the first time that we are sending an exhibition about Canada's North to the Venice Biennale in Architecture," said Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of the Canada Council. "Given the rise in national and international interest in the Arctic, this is a timely exhibition. Arctic Adaptations will bring attention and insight to the unique challenges and opportunities that Nunavut is facing, and the possibility for architecture to positively impact its future."

Map diagram of Arctic Adaptations team members © Lateral Office, 2013

Five design teams will work in collaboration with five Nunavut-based organizations. Each team will be composed of a Canadian school of architecture and a Canadian architecture office with substantial experience working in the North. They will create proposals that respond to regional as well as local realities, including climate change, resource extraction and a young, rapidly growing population. A proposal will be developed on each of the five following themes: Health, Education, Housing, Recreation and Arts.

These themes will be explored through architectural models, videos, interviews, photographs, maps, animations and soundscapes within an immersive environment that evokes the unique landscape and architecture of Nunavut. Using architecture as its vehicle, the exhibition will tell emblematic stories of Nunavut's present and future.

Interior rendering of Arctic Food Network cabin © Lateral Office, 2012

"Arctic Adaptations" Collaborators

  • Nunavut-based Organizations: Ilisaqsivik, Nunavut Housing Corporation, Nunavut Sport and Recreation, Qaggiavuut! and Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre
  • Architects: Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet Architectes Associés (Montreal), Kobayashi + Zedda Architects (Whitehorse), Lateral Office (Toronto), Pin/Taylor Architects (Yellowknife) and Stantec (Iqaluit)
  • Architecture Schools: Dalhousie University, Université de Montréal, University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba and University of Toronto

"Arctic Adaptations" Advisory Council (to date): The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Kirt Ejesiak, Peter Harrison, Bruce Kuwabara, Shelagh Rogers, John Ralston Saul, Brigitte Shim, Hunter F. Tura

"Arctic Adaptations" Sponsors, Partners and Supporters (to date): Canada Council for the Arts, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Green Seed Development Corporation, Urban Capital Property Group, KPMB Architects, Bruce Mau Design, Inc., AZURE Magazine, Canadian Architect Magazine, Kriss Communications

Canada will be one of the 40 countries participating in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition, Fundamentals, which will take place from June 7 to November 23, 2014, at the Giardini and the Arsenale in Venice, Italy. The event curator, Rem Koolhaas, has challenged participants to understand the "richness of architecture's fundamental repertoire" by focusing on "histories - on the inevitable elements of all architecture used by any architect anywhere, anytime (the door, the floor, the ceiling etc.) and on the evolution of national architectures in the last 100 years."

References: La Biennale Official Website, Nunavut Tourism Website, Kriss Communications

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Cite: Barbara Porada. "Venice Biennale 2014: Lateral Office to Represent Canada with Nunavut Exhibition " 28 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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