6th Holcim Awards 2020/21

118 Holcim Awards Gold 2014 Latin America: Articulated Site – Water reservoirs as public park, Medellín, Colombia Global Holcim Awar s finalist 2021 “Co-designing is about breaking down the hierarchy” Lola Sheppard Measuring 1.1 million square kilometers, the Northwest Territories (NWT) make up a large part of northern Canada. As of 2021, approximately 45,000 residents were counted throughout the territory. Half of them are Indigenous, including Inuit, Métis, and First Nations, the latter being composed of 26 communities. Their predominantly nomadic way of life, a tradition for thousands of years, was increasingly lost in the course of colonization of the New World and subsequent industrialization. The introduction of foreign diseases wiped out millions of Indigenous people throughout the continent, and the extraction of natural resources disrupted local ecosystems, depriving most Indigenous people of their livelihoods. Stripped of their land and their rights, these people were forced into reservations in the 19th and 20th century. Like other countries, Canada forcefully assimilated its Indigenous population. In spite of this, Indigenous people have demonstrated remarkable resilience and have started a resurgence of locally-led initiatives regarding health, education, culture, and land. The Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation (AIWF) is part of these efforts. Based in Yellowknife, the capital of the NWT, this organization represents all of the different Indigenous peoples of the NWT. Lateral Office in Toronto has been working with the AIWF for five years on the programming and development of the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Centre (AIWC). Lola Sheppard holds a Bachelor of Architecture from McGill University and a Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She was awarded the RAIC Young Architects Award in 2012. She is a professor at the University of Waterloo where she also serves as undergraduate officer. Mason White earned his Bachelor of Architecture at Virginia Tech (VPI&SU) and his Master of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is an architecture professor at the University of Toronto. Lola Sheppard and Mason White founded Lateral Office in 2003. Lateral Office was awarded a National Urban Design Award from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada in 2016 and Special Mention at the 2014 International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia. How did you become involved in this project? Mason White (MW): We have long been interested in the unique role of architecture in northern Canada. Initially, we found the special climatic and geographic conditions fascinating, but then, after years of travel in the region, we realized that the cultural questions imbricated in architecture were equally