Nunavut Arctic College Expansion & New Community Learning Centre
Size - 26,900 sqft
In collaboration with Teeple Architects.
The Nunavut Arctic College expansion and Community Learning Centre in Iqaluit is a major expansion of this vital academic and cultural institution. The College provides culturally relevant education at the highest national standard and is key in documenting, protecting, and advancing Inuit language and culture. It is a vital cultural hub and social centre for the community and the many students who have travelled far from home to attend.
At roughly 2,500 square metres, the new facility will welcome 269 students and 37 staff by August 2019. The expansion and addition program includes fine arts and multimedia classrooms, fisheries training facilities, digital labs, kitchen classrooms and other versatile learning spaces.
The design of the building is rooted in the powerful landscape of Iqaluit and Baffin Island. The building emerges from the dark bedrock of the hill behind as an ambiguously natural form, in part shaped by the wind to minimize drifting and to provide substantial protection from the elements at the entrance. A balance is achieved between the competing desires of insulating the building as much as possible against the arctic cold while simultaneously bringing in natural light and taking advantage of the beautiful views to the harbour and the landscape beyond. Strategic cuts through the roof scoop south light deep into the heart of the building and daylighting glass is used extensively to maximize the distribution of natural light.
The internal organization maximizes transparency and spatial interconnectivity to foster student engagement and to break down potential social barriers. The first space one enters is a circular social space—the heart of the building—circular to represent the Inuit value of collaboration.
Photographs by Julie Jira