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The underlying goal for our cultural equipment project is to rethink the design of constructed community spaces in the North so as to increase their affordability, sustainability, and capacity to support and strengthen Inuit culture and language. Much of the infrastructure and equipment being used in the North is imported from the South and does not fit northern people, cultural activities or environment. Chairs and tables, for example, are most often too high for Elders. Building floors--the primary working surface for most cultural producers--are often too cold and hard for extended work by Elders, too soft for tool-making and percussive work, or made with materials not resilient or cleanable enough to handle the processing of meat. While Inuit have shown extensive innovation in finding their own solutions around these issues, the results are often highly individualized, and difficult to replicate or scale as widespread solutions. This project seeks to partner local priorities for cultural production with Indigenous-led design and engineering to develop high quality material solutions to production equipment that can increase the physical ease and comfort of Inuit Elders and artists engaging with their culture.

In 2023, we partnered with an Indigenous design team--​Nicole Luke and Rachelle Lemieux from Verne Reimer Architecture--to fully customize Kuugalak's interior equipment design, focusing specifically on areas of lighting and flooring solutions, working surfaces, custom cabinetry and storage, and seasonal freezers/cold storage. The 2024 year will be dedicated to outdoor equipment and facilities design including meat and hide drying racks, gathering and workshop spaces, cultural gardens, pathways and benches.Through virtual and in-person workshops with a committee of KHS staff, Elders, and cultural experts, our design team has strived to ensure that the aesthetic and functionality of all materials integrated into Kuugalak reflect the needs and priorities of their users. 

This research program was generously supported by:

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