The urbanity of this Arctic town is spacious, open and utilitarian. The people who live there, some of the most welcoming I’ve come across.
Inuvik is located 200 kms north of the Arctic Circle and 100km from the Arctic Ocean and sit’s along the line where the Boreal Forests give way and the Tundra takes over.
There are only two ways to arrive at Inuvik, by air, or a long drive up the Dempster Highway. If you drive the 671km gravel road, make sure you have numerous spare tires – there is only one place for repairs half way to Inuvik.
Everything there comes in via one of these routes, and that includes building materials!
Buildings need to be practical, simply built and set on piles so as to not damage the fragile permafrost.
The suburban structure of the town is disparate, yet logically ordered in part due to the two main housing typologies that developed during the occupation of a National Defence base during the 50’s and the 60’s
The first, known as the 512’s for the officers – a 16ft x 32ft Cabin with a floor plate of 512 square feet. The second, row housing for the general corps and later on oil and gas workers.
These two building typologies occur in different areas of the town, perhaps– giving credence to the military hierarchy in which they were constructed. The Canadian Army closed its base of 260 odd personal in 1985.
A spider-like network of above ground ‘Utilidors’ provides all the services including a high temperature heating system to the entire town. This heating system runs alongside the water supply and sewerage lines – for obvious reasons. Intriguing little structures.
The population of Inuvik is currently about 3000 people, this swells and decreases with the oil and gas prospecting. What will the future hold for Inuvik, I’m not sure, but I intend to return to explore the town and its surrounding landscape in more detail.
A very interesting town and a tight-nit community needs quality facilities. A new school two years ago and just completed a new child care facility which we were in town to photography.