• H.A.B.I.T.A.T: Housing Atlas of Building In The Arctic Territory
    Neeraj Bhatia

Neeraj Bhatia, View of Drift House from Highway; Winter Configuration. Courtesy of the artist.

The thawing Arctic ice shelf ironically yields the same resources that evoked its depletion—massive oil and gas deposits that suggest the impending urbanization of the North. With insufficient core populations to support public structures, the typology of dwelling has attained the highest level of refinement within the Arctic's unique climate. Pre–World War II indigenous Inuit housing had embedded connections to the local landscape, materials, and fabrication, while embracing the nomadic Inuit lifestyle. In an effort to assert Arctic sovereignty, post–World War II prefabricated government housing instilled new notions of comfort and permanence through modern construction techniques while neglecting the cultural and sustainable intelligence of traditional dwellings. This documentation, research, and accompanying projective proposal seeks to catalogue the landscape, cultural, material, and construction systems of the indigenous Inuit housing types, and the modern prefabrication construction techniques and materials employed in the Arctic, to forecast new housing typologies that will provide sustainable shelter to the emerging Arctic petropolis.

Neeraj Bhatia received his master's degree in architecture and urban design from MIT and dual bachelor's degrees from the University of Waterloo in environmental studies and architecture. A Fulbright Fellow, he has worked for Eisenman Architects, Coop Himmelblau, Bruce Mau Design, and OMA, while teaching at the University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, and Rice University. His research has been published in Volume/Archis, Thresholds, Footprint, Field Journal, and Yale Perspecta. He is coeditor (with Jürgen Mayer H.) of Arium: Weather + Architecture (Hatje Cantz, 2009) and Bracket 2 (Actar, 2011), and coauthor of Pamphlet Architecture 30 (PA Press, 2009). He serves as director of InfraNet Lab, a non-profit research collective probing the spatial byproducts of contemporary resource logistics, and is a partner in the Open Workshop, an interdisciplinary practice focused on the project of pluralism.