Arctic Design Group: Mediating Environments - Matthew Jull
The Arctic is overwhelmingly understood from the perspectives of science, economics, or sovereignty filtered through popular news media. While this is critical for the formulation of national and international policies, it often renders the Arctic as a highly vulnerable and exploitable material territory. Less frequently discussed, however, are the cultural landscapes of northern communities that embody multifaceted spatial practices, environmental adaptations, and technological ingenuities. For architects, landscape architects, and urban designers, the extreme and dynamic climate and geography of the Arctic force us to rethink the conventions of design principles, to re-evaluate the purposes and mechanisms of built structures, the emphasis on engineered “optimization”, and to innovate cultural, environmental, and material linkages. Ultimately, our understanding of these dynamics and our ability to not only respond to them but also to envision alternative futures in the face of climate change, are crucial for the long-term sustainability of the region, of people and communities, and the innumerable benefits that it can convey globally.