Architectural revival in the Arctic
Construction materials and equipment for new
houses must be flown into Anaktuvuk Pass, making the weight and dimensions of all building
materials a major financial consideration.
iStoCkPHoto © dAWn niCHolS
By mike koshmrl
Copyright © 2010 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.
Just about two degrees north of the Arctic Circle, 55 miles west of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, is the village of Anaktuvuk Pass. The name means “place of caribou drop- pings” in Inupiaq, the traditional local anguage. This is a part of the United
States where the primary means of locomoting
is on ATVs and snow mobiles, and you’re much
more likely to find a caribou steak on your plate
than beef or chicken. Nestled in an isolated valley of the Brooks Range, Anaktuvuk Pass is a
place of extremes — in both temperatures and
the lengths of days. It’s also the location of an
exciting experiment in Arctic architecture, one
that could help shape the future of residential
building in the far north.
Designed by the Cold Climate Housing
Research Center (CCHRC) of Fairbanks, a
limited funds, Access
Create Housing Hassles
Although quite small (and getting smaller
— there were only 256 residents according to
the 2009 census estimate), Anaktuvuk Pass is in
the midst of a housing crunch. New buildings in
town are usually provided to residents through
the TNHA. The TNHA serves eight communi-prototype home has combined modern sustainable building techniques with the traditional
building methods of the Nunamiut, the inland
group of Inupiat who settled the valley in the
early 1950s. The project is a combined effort
of the CCHRC, the Tagiugmiullu Nunamiullu
Housing Authority (TNHA), the Yukon River
Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC)
and Ilisagvik College.
52 September/October 2010 SOLAR TODA Y solartoday.org
Mike Koshmrl ( email@example.com) is the
editorial intern at SOLAR TODA Y.