Researching Self-Determined Space Connected to Land in the Arctic: Indigenous-led Architecture in Sámi Territory

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Robyn Adams


During the summer of 2022, I participated in a research trip with the Canadian Centre of Architecture (CCA) to Kautokeino in Northern Norway, with a focus on Indigenous-led architecture in the Arctic. The CCA hosted a workshop called Futurecasting: Towards Indigenous-Led Architecture and Design in the Arctic, which hosted a gathering of Inuit, First Nations, Métis and Sámi designers and graduate students. Collectively we received lectures from Indigenous architects, created artworks displayed at the CCA, and went on two research trips to Kautokeino, Norway and Montreal, Quebec. We learned from Elders, Knowledge Holders, Scholars, Sámi Duojár, Kahnawake Artists, and Community Members. Lectures, storytelling, conversations and the trip included snowmobiling in the arctic with reindeer herders and a hands-on design build project creating a Luovvi, which is the form of a Sámi storage room.

Through this research experience, I found that Sámi architecture, and Indigenous architecture globally, designs and exercises self-determined spaces by connecting land-based activities into built structures. From snowmobile sheds to meat drying structures, Indigenous Sámi homes and landscapes are designed in the Arctic context, rooted in Indigenous culture and place.

Article Details

Renewing & Reimagining Knowledge Transmission: Past, Present, Future
Author Biography

Robyn Adams, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Red River Métis