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Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 to launch Canadian tour at Winnipeg Art Gallery


February 24, 2015
by Canadian Architect

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) has announced the Canadian launch of Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15, the award-winning exhibition that represented Canada at the 14th International Venice Biennale in Architecture. After being honoured at the prestigious competition with a Special Mention, the exhibition runs at the WAG February 27 to May 3, 2015. A public opening is planned for Friday March 6, 2015 at 7:00pm.

Arctic Adaptations is a team-based project initiated and led by Lateral Office of Toronto, an experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape and urbanism. The exhibition surveys a century of Arctic architecture, an urbanizing present, and a projective near future of adaptive architecture in Nunavut. Arctic Adaptations features interactive architecture models, photography and topographical maps of the 25 communities of Nunavut, as well as Inuit carvers’ masterful scale models of some of the best-known buildings in the territory.

“The Winnipeg Art Gallery is very pleased to partner with Lateral Office to present this award-winning exhibition that focuses on the Arctic,” comments Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO. “Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 will offer visitors an innovative look at the relationship between architecture, land, climate and culture. The project is a great fit for the WAG, alongside our world-renowned collection of Inuit art and ongoing work to develop our new Inuit Art Centre.”

Celebrating Nunavut’s 15th anniversary as a territory, Arctic Adaptations documents architectural history in this remarkable but relatively little-known region of Canada, describes the contemporary realities of life in its communities, and proposes a future of adaptive and responsive architecture for the North.

Lola Sheppard and Mason White of Lateral Office say: “We hope that Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 reveals an undocumented past, while provoking a new direction for architecture in Nunavut to embrace both the traditional and the modern—just as the people have. We’re excited to share the project with Canadians after its success at the 2014 Venice Biennale.”

 A new component to the exhibition will be unveiled—a short time-lapse video that documents people interacting with the exhibition inside the Canada Pavilion in Venice. The video gives Canadians who have never experienced the Venice Biennale a physical impression of the pavilion and a better understanding of what the Biennale is all about.

Following the launch in Winnipeg, the WAG and Lateral Office are touring Arctic Adaptations nationally to the Yukon Arts Centre, Whitehorse (June-August 2015); the Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver (October-December 2015); and the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary (January-March 2016), with generous support from presenting sponsor Manulife. Additional venues will be added in 2016-2017.

“The Arctic Adaptations exhibit is a great way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Nunavut through innovation and design,” says Colin Drewe, Canadian Division Sales Director, Manulife. “Manulife supports initiatives that will help to improve the health and vitality of Canadians including the aboriginal community, through forward-thinking initiatives like Arctic Adaptations.”

Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15 is organized and curated by Lateral Office, with the support of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts. It is presented and circulated by the Winnipeg Art Gallery with assistance from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage; Presenting Sponsor Manulife; Diamond Sponsors Airport Railings Co. Ltd. and First Air; Platinum Sponsors TD Bank Group, Aimia Inc., Green Seed Development Corporation, DuPont™ Corian®; and additional sponsors and partners listed at www.arcticadaptations.ca.

For more details, please visit www.wag.ca.


arctic adaptations at the venice biennale 2014. image courtesy latrielle eelage photography.
arctic adaptations at the venice biennale 2014. image courtesy latrielle eelage photography.


Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect

Canadian Architect is a magazine for architects and related professionals practicing in Canada. Canada's only monthly design publication, Canadian Architect has been in continuous publication since 1955.
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