The CHARS (Canadian High Arctic Research Station) project presented an exciting opportunity to explore the capacity of cold-climate building technologies and design. This world-class research station is located in the culturally-rich and historic site of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and performs multiple critical functions, including performing as an essential hub for scientific research in both land and sea, enhancing intergovernmental relations on an International scale, and supporting the sovereignty and self-sufficiency of the surrounding Indigenous communities.
The CHARS project is unique in that it embodies the integration of ancient wisdom within a modern world. Deepening our understanding of the Arctic will promote scientific responsibility in regards to the environment, and thus help our earth and its people to thrive long into the future. The project will also integrate the perspectives and needs of community members and inhabitants, thus promoting a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical legacy of the area. CHARS can be viewed as a place of sharing our evolving stories of how, together, we can connect, support each other, and prosper.
Very few projects have demanded such rigorous and comprehensive attention to detail. The success of CHARS requires an in-depth understanding of the surrounding natural conditions, as well as the tools and know-how to accommodate for these conditions within the final design. A comprehensive study of the snowfall patterns and the site’s permafrost were just a couple of the key components that informed our vision.