Igloolik Community Hall

Igloolik ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ, in Foxe Basin, Qikiqtaaluk Region in Nunavut is 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 Community Hall was designed to provide a multi-purpose venue to host performances and to celebrate the past and future of Igloolik.

During our first site visit, our team met with the community and listened to their stories of tragedy and joy. Their priorities and hopes for the new building were heard and incorporated into our work. Elders expressed concern about a lack of gathering spaces for youth and youth groups, who would go on to become one of the main users of the facility, and this was noted as a factor that must guide our approach.

The shell of the building is a simple wedge shape, clad in dark standing-seam metal designed to withstand the elements. One of the most unique aspects of the exterior is a large-scale mural created by Nuschool Design Agency, a multi-disciplinary design studio based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The mural faces the airport to greet visitors and establish a sense of place.

Inside, guests enter through a main vestibule clad in perforated stainless steel and backlit to signal events in progress, providing a playful dancing light that shines out onto the hamlet. The design of the lobby focuses on creating a welcoming environment for social interaction, with benches along the perimeter for more intimate discussions. The interior finishes of the main assembly hall are warm and robust, with walls clad in a natural birch plywood clear-coated to showcase the wood's natural texture and grain, and hung in a ½ offset pattern with reveals and exposed fasteners. The warmth of the birch plywood continues to the ceiling, providing exceptional acoustic quality and maximizing lighting control for performances. Tying the spaces together, the birch paneling extends into the lobby and complements the exposed wooden structure of the building.