• Many Norths: Spatial Practices in a Polar Territory
    Lola Sheppard and Mason White
    Actar Publishers, 2017
    Lola Sheppard & Mason White

Papineau Gerin-Lajoie LeBlanc Architects, Gordon Robertson Educational Centre, 1973, Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Photo: Guy Gerin-Lajoie.

The myth of the Canadian North is tied to its unique geography—a territory vast, sparsely populated, fragile, and sublime. Yet, in fact, more than one-hundred thousand people are living north of sixty degrees in eighty rapidly growing but dispersed settlements. With undiscovered mineral and energy resources and dramatically changing climatological conditions, the Arctic region has long been a site of economic and development speculation and experimentation. With these transformations come new building types, infrastructures, and settlement patterns, yet architecture's role has been largely overlooked. The Canadian North's unique combination of extreme climate, aboriginal culture, and remote geography has produced complicated infrastructures, settlements, and sociopolitical negotiations. This book documents the innovative and sometimes astonishing ways that modernism has migrated to this polar extremity, and how traditional and contemporary cultures have intersected in the region. The publication compiles comprehensive and unprecedented documentation of the evolving spatial practices of the North—unique building typologies, settlement form, monitoring, and mobility networks in this remote region—and records their transformation through essays, interviews, mappings, analytic drawings, and photography.

Lola Sheppard and Mason White are architects and designers based in Toronto, and partners in the firm Lateral Office (founded 2003), dedicated to the productive overlap of architecture, landscape, infrastructure, and urbanism. They are codirectors of InfraNet Lab (founded 2008) and coeditors of the journal Bracket: Architecture, Environment, Digital Culture. For the past five years, they have been teaching advanced studios and pursuing design research that examines architecture's role in the far North, and its capacity to be geographically, environmentally, and programmatically responsive to its context. Lateral Office received a PA Award and an Arctic Inspiration Prize for their Arctic Food Network project (2013); were selected for Pamphlet Architecture 30, published by Princeton Architectural Press (2011); were awarded the Emerging Voices Award from the Architectural League of New York (2011); and received the National Canadian Prix de Rome (2010) for their body of work.