The Canadian Arctic is a landscape continually in flux, shifting due to wind, snow, ice and geology. It is also a landscape of movement; of people, species, and resources. The immensity of the land, the dispersed nature of population in the North and uniqueness of its geography and climate pose challenges and offer opportunities for inhabiting the North.
The Canadian Arctic is also a rapidly-changing frontier of knowledge and education. Expertise is plentiful, and yet, a locked-up resource in the Arctic. There exist two highly knowledgeable groups: the Inuit, whose intimate experience of the land surpasses most physical records, and the scientific community, who are intensely monitoring and recording changes in lifestyle, habitat and environment due to climate change. Both are struggling to communicate their knowledge of the Arctic, to each other, and to the rest of the world. While there exist several northern colleges that teach practical skills and trades, there are few opportunities that facilitate an inclusive common ground for learning and sharing traditional and scientific knowledge. Canada is currently the only country that does not have a degree-granting institution north of the Arctic Circle.
Knowledge Clouds examines how architecture can engage the scale of geography, and tests the possibility of an incremental, expandable, mobile system of education that can serve as seeds of knowledge exchange and production in the North. A pan-Arctic university is imagined as Knowledge Clouds: classroom units able to respond, deploy and aggregate, to suit changing local needs and learning calendars. Embracing the Arctic airship technology predicted to serve northern mines in the future, the classrooms consist of a series of lightweight units that can be shipped by air and remain on sites for varying periods of time. The form and materials are designed to respond to wind and weather when they anchored on the land, forming new knowledge sites across the Canadian North