Igloolik Community Hall

Igloolik ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ, in Foxe Basin, Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut in one of Canada's oldest Inuit communities. Steeped in Inuit culture and heritage, Igloolik is home to many artists and performers, including ISUMA Productions and Artcirq Arctic Circus, a community-based circus and multimedia company. The new hamlet community hall is a multi-function facility designed for performances and shows by these and other groups, as well as the yearly return of the Sun Festival and numerous weekly dances. Our project team met with several groups in the community — listening to their stories of tragedy and of celebration — including the elders of the hamlet, whose main concern was their youth and the youth groups who will be one of the main users of the facility. The intention of the design became about creating a “place” to bring the community together and to celebrate the past and the future of the hamlet.

The resulting building is a defined by a single formal gesture that contains all the amenities within an efficient design that responds to the climate and the effect of strong winds. The shell of the building is a simple wedge shape, clad in dark standing-seam metal, designed to be durable and withstand the elements. One of the most unique aspects of the exterior is a large scale mural facing the airport road — created by Nuschool Design Agency, a multidisciplinary design studio based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. This mural will be the first sight of visitors entering the town by air. As you enter the building, guests are greeted by the main vestibule, clad in perforated stainless steel that will be backlit to signal when events are on at the Hall, a playful dance of lights that shine out into the community. Lobby and support spaces serve the main assembly hall and stage area, where acoustics and sight lines were a main consideration for this space. The design of the entry lobby focuses on providing a welcoming area for social interaction, with perimeter benches intended to host more intimate discussions.

The interior finishes of the hamlet building are warm and robust. The interior walls of the assembly hall are finished with a natural birch plywood, clear-coated to showcase the natural texture and grain of the wood, in a 1/2 offset pattern with reveals and exposed fasteners. The design of the ceiling space of the assembly hall is a deep sawtooth, also clad in large sheets of birch plywood, providing exceptional performance acoustic quality and maximum lighting control. The plywood panel wall finish extends into the lobby area, where it complements the exposed wood structure of that space.