Coming in from the cold

Submitted by digital on Mon, 04/04/2016 - 18:56
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[["images-card",{"images":[{"url":"http:\/\/\/dpcbzfiye\/image\/upload\/v1459797433\/gj8odw3ivog24k6hnvc8.png","id":"4646"}],"caption":"Conception Virtual Model"}]],"markups":[["a",["href","http:\/\/\/designforaging\/viewdocument\/?DocumentKey=b6d1962a-9c6c-4467-b9aa-9d72ebab86ea","target","_new"]],["em"]],"sections":[[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Finding elderly-friendly solutions to a housing crisis in the Arctic"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Inuit populations across Inuit Nunangat (all Inuit Territories in the Canadian Arctic) have suffered for decades through a severe housing shortage and overcrowding conditions. The effects of rapid climate change in the Arctic have further compounded the deterioration of the already overused and abused housing stock. Housing has become a widespread crisis, impacting the very social fabric and health of the Inuit communities. Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to housing-related health issues."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"In response to this crisis, the Nunatsiavut Government launched the Sustainable Communities Initiative. The vision was described as follows:"]]],[1,"blockquote",[[0,[],0,"\u201cInosiKatigeKagiamik Illumi\u201d (Healthy homes in Nunatsiavut) is an action-oriented housing program that builds on existing knowledge of the current housing situation to forge new housing directions that are adapted to changing climatic realities. This project aims to provide housing solutions that are actionable across Nunatsiavut and applicable across Inuit Nunangat. Through the construction of culturally relevant, affordable, climate adapted housing, we hope to slow the rapid pace of infrastructure deterioration currently experienced in the region, reduce the burden of overcrowding and mold, and by extension, contribute positively to the mental and physical health and well-being of residents.\u201d"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Major community stakeholders, through a series of community design charrettes in Nain, identified elders and youths as the most at risk in the current situation, and as having the most pressing need for a home."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Initial discussions called for one-bedroom units to accommodate both groups. Later, a second bedroom was judged necessary to house extended families. In the case of elders, the extra room could be used for live-in help, or, as is characteristic of Inuit culture, to allow them to raise a grandchild; proof that Inuit elders are still considered to be active family and community members, not stowed away in seniors\u2019 homes. Services and care are organized so that they may remain in their houses as long as possible. The very concept of elders\u2019 homes is foreign, for the time being."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Multi-unit residential buildings are still rare in most small Inuit communities. They are now being given serious consideration for many reasons: a severe housing shortage and a rapidly growing population, dwindling availability of land suitable for construction, the cost of sprawling community infrastructures, climate change and the need to develop a more sustainable approach. Two multi-unit residential building options were developed, a 4Plex and a 6plex. The 6Plex was selected because the extra two units would give more immediate relief to the housing crisis."]]],[1,"p",[]],[10,0],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The 6Plex was designed using the best northern construction and sustainability practices, and with the goals of not contributing to climate change and countering the direct effects of climate change as they have been observed in the last decade or so. It was also designed to be culturally responsive and adapted to the needs of Nunatsiavummiut multi-generational families, and to alleviate health risks to youth and elders in particular."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"A number of issues were considered in designing of the 6Plex: remoteness, logistics (Nunatsiavut communities are not accessible by road, only by ships during the summer), harsh sub-Arctic climatic conditions, shortness of construction season, lack of locally available materials, and lack of locally available skilled labor."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Some of the design highlights are as follows:"]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Create a sense of privacy to help with the transition from single family to multi-unit life style"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"Private entrances for each unit (avoid unmanageable common spaces)"]],[[0,[],0,"Use colors to identify each unit\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"High levels of soundproofing between units\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Individual heating and hot water systems\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Individual exterior storage sheds, for outdoor gear"]]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Cultural adaptations"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"Large, open common spaces (living, dining, kitchen for extended family gatherings)\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Large pantries for bulk food (summer shipping only)\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Large kitchen counters to process \u201ccountry food\u201d from hunting and fishing\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Larger bedrooms, to allow for doubling up\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Large \u201ccold porches,\u201d a weather transition in front of the standard vestibules, to store winter and outdoor gear"]]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Elders\u2019 adaptations"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"The two first-floor units are reserved for elders\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Elders requested interior lift accessibility, instead of exterior ramps, which would have been very long and difficult to clear of snow in winter\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"One of the elders\u2019 units is fully wheelchair accessible (kitchen counters, bathroom, etc.)\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Elders also requested that circulations be wide enough to manoeuver stretchers safely "]]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"Renewable energy and climate change"]]],[3,"ul",[[[0,[],0,"Building orientation to allow for maximum passive solar heat\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Large south-facing windows\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"Solar-panel-ready installation\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"High levels of thermal insulation and air tightness\u2028"]],[[0,[],0,"High energy efficiency "]],[[0,[],0,"Heat Recovery Ventilation Units "]]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"\u201cArctic roof\u201d construction (or hot roof) "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Replaces the standard cold or ventilated roof. One direct effect of climate change has been more frequent and severe snowstorms in winter. Large quantities of snow have been piling into the attic spaces. When this snow thaws, it causes serious damage to the ceilings and walls below and contributes to mold growth. "]]],[1,"h2",[[0,[],0,"Community commitment"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"This project clearly demonstrates the strong determination on the part of the Nunatsiavimmiut to overcome the challenges posed by climate change and the housing crisis as it more specifically affects the elders. It also illustrates a long tradition of resiliency and adaptability among the Inuit."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[0],1,"View more images here"],[0,[],0,"."]]],[1,"h3",[[0,[],0,"About the Author"]]],[1,"p",[[0,[1],1,"Alain Fournier, "],[0,[],0,"OAQ, OAA, ALBNL, FRAIC,"],[0,[1],1," is principal of Montreal-Based FGMDA Architects. He has 40 years of professional experience and has been practicing in the Canadian Arctic territory of the Inuit Nunangat for more than 30 years. He has been involved in the design and construction of many types of community infrastructures. He is currently in charge of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay."]]]]}
Learn about efforts to solve a severe housing shortage in the Canadian Arctic with buildings that meet the needs and cultural traditions of the Inuit.
Members Only
Primary Image Caption
Conceptual model of a multi-unit residential design for the Intuit community
Tile Sizes
Use on Homepage
Temp Draft
[{"updated-date":"2016-04-04T18:56:03+00:00","author-name":"Administrator","author-id":null,"action":"created"},{"updated-date":"2017-01-28T05:26:17+00:00","author-name":"Administrator","author-id":null},{"updated-date":"2017-01-28T05:26:17+00:00","author-name":"Administrator","author-id":null,"action":"published"},{"updated-date":"2017-01-31T21:45:46+00:00","author-name":"Brendan McLean","author-id":"2d766746-127c-4a07-bd2f-a5ac92ab6a59","action":null}]