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The myth of Canada is often preceded by the unique geography of the Canadian North—a vast, sparsely populated, fragile, and sublime territory. Yet with one of the most dramatically changing climates on Earth and an estimated quarter of the planet’s undiscovered energy resources, this Arctic region has emerged as a site of significant economic and developmental speculation. It is a frontier, again. The region’s unique combination of climate, culture, and geography produce complex infrastructures, settlements, and sociopolitical negotiations.
A wider understanding of an environment that unpredictably oscillates between freeze and thaw, dark and light, accessible and inaccessible, tradition and technology offers a more potent reading of building opportunities. How might building in the North be adaptable, responsive, and temporal? How might new buildings and landscapes in the North fuse existing systems with emergent ones to catalyze a network of ecologies and economies and a new public realm in the Arctic?
The exhibition presented here merges explorations of the unique, ever-changing landscapes and ecologies of the North, with speculations on how to reconsider building in this dynamic context that is further complicated by intensifying climate change.
“Next North/The Active Layer” is a collaboration of Lateral Office and InfraNet Lab, both based in Toronto. Project Team: Mason White, Lola Sheppard, Maya Przybylski, Neeraj Bhatia, Fionn Byrne, Nikole Bouchard, Andria Fong, Ceara Watters.
Lateral Office is an award-winning experimental design research office which operates at the intersection of architecture and landscape architecture. They are recipients of the 2010 Prix de Rome in Architecture from the Canada Council for the Arts for their project Next North.
InfraNet Lab is a design research lab that investigates new roles for infrastructures in an age seeking fresh ideas for limited resources and threatened ecologies.
No.9: Contemporary Art and the Environment is proud to present the exhibition Next North / The Active Layer 2010/2011. Supporting the public dissemination of research and design solutions in response to the effects of climate change is critical to No.9’s mission of stimulating positive social and environmental change.