Location:                   Déline, North West Territories
Concept Design:     February 2020
Building Area:          75sm (805 sft)

Formline Architecture is one of 4 Indigenous lead architectural teams working with Natural Research Canada to develop proto-type housing for Indigenous communities in remote regions of Canada. Déline is a community of 500 located on the south west arm of Great Bear Lake in Canada’s sub arctic. There is no permanent road access and only ice road access to the communities in the winter. This region of Canada is in the permafrost zone requiring buildings to be raised off the ground by a metre to ensure ground conditions are not affected. The community electrical power is provided by a diesel generator and each building has its own water holding tank and septic tank. Heating is provided typically be an oil-fired furnace.

Based on community consultation a shortage of 20 one-bedroom units was identified. This need comes from youth transitioning from staying with their parents to their own place and for elders. There was no desire for an apartment type complex therefore the focus was on a stand-alone house that can be modified to be either a single stand alone, duplex, or quadplex arrangement. The house will be designed according to passive house standards to reduce fossil fuel usage.

The design of the proto-type resulted from spending time with families and understanding their day to day patterns of living and the technical requirements of designing for cold climates. Based on observation of the typical government housing stalk we noticed each house had a cold room scabbed on to the side and a tepee for outdoor cooking. As the people spend much of their time out on the land they require place to store wild meat and seasonal clothing. The resultant proto-type includes the typical layout of a one bedroom unit with a compact kitchen bathroom core to minimize plumbing runs, a porch transitional space and an oversized mechanical room. This oversized mechanical room provides space for the 350 gallon water tank, furnace and space for a chest freezer for wild game and seasonal clothing. The passive envelope has R63 walls, R73 roof and R71 floor assembly. The windows are triple glazed.

The form and character merges the community’s affection for the log cabin combined with an open translucent shed garage and storage area. The corrugated translucent shed structure relates to the translucent tepee. To address the abundant use of ATVs and snowmobiles we investigated neighbourhood layouts that can zone the outdoor activities and communal space separate from the road-ways. Current plans are to build 10 units at a deserted runway.

Natural Resource Canada c/o David Fortin Architect

Design Team
Alfred Waugh, Henry Dyck, Monika Kolon