Modular Building Institute

Nihtat Corporation Office

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Main Category:
Modular Building Design
Horizon North Logistics Inc.
Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Building Use:
Office and cultural space
Gross Size of Project:
4000 Square Feet
Days to complete:

Award Criteria

  1. Architectural Excellence
    The 4,000 sq ft project is made up of 7 modules that include offices, an entryway, a common area kitchen, and a cultural community space. 4 modules comprise the office space and entryway, while 3 modules comprise the cultural space. The 7 modules feature additional interior insulation for warmth and soundproofing. The cultural space is supported by a crane-installed custom structural post and beam, which maximizes the space as an open concept. This space allows community members and families to gather and participate in activities that will revitalize the Nihtat culture and heritage. The outer structure of the building includes pre-fab insulated roof panels and sloped wall panels installed on-site. The panels give the building a visually appealing shape and a bright red colour that makes it stand out as a community hub. Diamond grate stairs and ramps provide access into the building and allow for easy snow removal in Inuvik’s unique subarctic climate.
  2. Technical Innovation & Sustainability
    Inuvik’s subarctic climate means that the building must be adapted to cold weather and extreme temperature changes. Given the permafrost base that exists in Inuvik and other northern regions, a Triodetic multi-point foundation was used to provide maximum stability as the ground freezes and thaws. To address concerns regarding ice damming, low R-values, freeze protection and cold weather functionality, the structure includes several thermal upgrades, from triple glazed energy certified windows and doors to exterior “outsulation” in all walls to boost standard R-values. Spray foam core in the ceiling and a glycol re-circulating boiler system are used for heating and warmth retention. The addition of these thermal upgrades throughout has increased the R-value of the walls to R-40 and the ceilings and floors to R-80. Several other energy efficient and environmentally conscious elements were incorporated for sustainability, including LED fixtures and Energy Star appliances.
  3. Cost Effectiveness
    Choosing modular construction meant certain cost efficiencies for the owner given the small, remote community of Inuvik. It meant not having to worry about the availability and high costs of labour in the region and facing the potential inefficiencies of interruptions and delays given unpredictable weather. Having the assurance of the bulk of construction being completed indoors meant no restrictions due to the unique climate and limited access. Many of the office’s components focused on energy efficiency and addressing the cold weather obstacles of building in a northern climate, which will also mean long-term value and cost effectiveness for the owner, including: LED fixtures, Energy Star appliances, exterior outsulation, and triple-glazed energy certified windows and doors. In a subarctic climate like Inuvik, modular construction was the best choice to ensure cost certainty and a high-quality structure.
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