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Kugaaruk Hamlet Office & Community Hall

Kugaaruk, Nunavut

Completed in 2017

The building is designed to provide a flexible and comfortable workplace as well as a safe, engaging public space. Situated on the site to take advantage of both views (to nearby mountains and the bay), the layout also facilitates a pedestrian relationship with the adjacent arena and school.

Interior elements were informed by collaboration with local craftspeople: patterns routered into the wainscoting are based on sketches by Kugaaruk-based artist Alina Tungilik. The lobby features a display wall with units sized appropriately for regional artwork, and a locally crafted wooden kayak suspended below the skylight.

Initially, cost estimates for the project were based on a construction crew with 100% imported labour, and exceeded the project budget. As neither the territorial or municipal government could confirm the local capacity for construction labour, TAG visited the community and directly interviewed residents about their skillset and availability to participate in the project. Nearly 50 workers expressed interest, almost a quarter of whom had over 10 years of construction experience.

These interviews also showed that most workers were experienced with wood construction; accordingly, the project was redesigned to use wood framing instead of steel. The design was also developed to use construction equipment and materials that were already in the community, and structural members that were sized to sea-lift requirements.

Tender for the project was issued with a local employment target of 45%. To help meet this target, tender documents included:
• Resumes, availability and contact information local workers
• Seasonal hunting calendars for the community

At completion of construction, 48% of wages went to local workers, representing over $1M in additional wages going to workers in Kugaaruk. The building tender price was lower than the project budget.

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