Nunatsiavut Assembly Building
In a remote community in Northern Labrador, the goal of this building was to symbolize the newly formed Nunatsiavut Government and the culture of the place. The community was consulted to determine the appropriate symbolism to design a building that is iconic within the built and natural landscape.
The project commenced with a meeting of stakeholders of the project in the community of Hopedale. At that gathering the architect and designer, Ron Fougere, was presented with a drawing from a young Hopedale elementary student. The drawing showed a domed “snow house” with the Moravian buildings in the background. A class of students from Hopedale were asked to draw their impression of a new Nunatsiavut legislative building. The young student’s sketch became the inspiration for the concept of the new legislative building for the Nunatsiavut Government. This was a true reflection of the cultural expectations and the type of symbolism for the building, as it was manifested through the mind and heart of a young local child.
The dome of the “snow house” form became the feature, marking and expressing the gathering of people below the dome. It also commemorated the entry and the collection of people in the “public space”. Behind the dome was the form of the Moravian mission shaped buildings of Labrador. A stylized cupola was incorporated into the sloped roof form offering a stately apex for this important building. The cupola contains a Nunatsiavut form within it which combines the symbolism of the cupola with a more culturally integrated land form of the inukshuk. The cupola/inukshuk was placed directly on to the entrance of the gathering chambers which has a public gallery on the second level. The gathering chamber is at the heart of the facility both physically and symbolically. The building is very welcoming to the public, providing generous space and access to the gathering chambers and legislative assembly room.
The images borrowed from the aboriginal cultural history of their region, the snow house, the Moravian style roof form, the cupola and the inukshuk are all combined into one architectural expression signifying a special building, facilitating a very special function; on the landscape of Hopedale.
STATUS: Completed 2010
SERVICES PROVIDED: Architectural Design, Interior Design
BUILDING TYPE: New Construction
PROGRAM: Government building including council chamber, offices, library etc.
SIZE: 10,100 ft2 (940 m2)
DESIGN TEAM: Inuit Canadian Consultants Ltd. – Prime Consultant, CBCL Consulting Engineers – Civil, Structural, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
PHOTOGRAPHY: Emily Campbell