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Arctic Pirouette

Gjoa, Nunavut, Canada
SSEF Award of Merit Winner

Canada’s Arctic communities present a number of challenges solving the structure of building on permafrost in societies that exist in an extreme climate. Building on permafrost is difficult because the heat of the building can thaw the permafrost and destabilize the structure. Our solution to this problem is to suspend our building so the least amount of area will make contact to the ground. The suspension happens at the top of the central column. Like a ballerina standing on one leg performing a pirouette, the building spirals up the three floors of the research center around the central core. The cables are distributed to stabilize the two ramps and three floor plates. Though the research facility is located in Gjoa Haven, the structure is a modular system that can be constructed anywhere in Canada’s Arctic as the structure is not invasive to the ground.

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