Located in Nunavut in the Qikiqtaaluk Region and with average annual temperatures of -16.5C, Grise Fiord is one of the coldest inhabited places in the world. The tundra climate features short, cool summers and long, cold winters, which posed a challenge to the Government of Nunavut’s intent to construct a new Hamlet Office & Community Hall Complex in Grise Fiord.
Republic Architecture Inc. was engaged to design a building that could be constructed on permafrost, was resilient enough to withstand extreme winter conditions, and provided residents of Grise Fiord with a place to meet, govern, and celebrate their culture. The building was to replace the existing Hamlet Office and consolidate it with a new Community Hall.
Throughout the design process, our team traveled to Grise Fiord to meet with local officials, Elders, and stakeholders to ensure their needs and vision for the facility were met. The design was driven by a need to efficiently contain the large volume of the Community Hall and smaller volumes of the office spaces within a durable and cost-effective building. In addition to office spaces, designated leasable spaces to stimulate the local economy were included in the design. The tenant space is currently occupied by the local Hunters and Trappers Association and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
To reduce costs and minimize building maintenance, much of the interior structure was left exposed. In public areas, millwork and display cabinets were provided, allowing the community to display local art and artifacts to celebrate their heritage. Spectacular views of the site were showcased with abundant glazing that looked out to the sea, the surrounding town, and the mountains.