April 2013

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East Three School by Sonu Purhar ocated deep in the Northwest Territories and just above the Arctic Circle, the small town of Inuvik is capturing national interest with a new development that combines cultural tradition with forward-thinking design. After just two years of planning and construction, East Three School – a 129,000-square-foot facility that unites Inuvik's elementary and secondary students in one "super school" – had its grand opening in mid-October of last year. The occasion was marked by a lively ceremony attended by government officials, school staff, members of the local construction and design industry, and neighbourhood residents. The overwhelming response isn't surprising; after all, the finished project bears the input of most of the attendees. Named "East Three" after the federal government's original name for the site, the school is the largest building project ever commissioned by the Government of the Northwest Territories. The development replaced two educational institutions that would otherwise have required extensive upgrades and 13-03-08 3:21 PM repairs, and employed local contractors and suppliers to support economic growth in the region. Yellowknife-based Pin/Taylor Architects was retained as the prime consultant for the project's design, largely due to the firm's holistic philosophy that coincides with the owner's vision for the school. The goal of both parties was to create an economical school whose built environment would positively enhance students' education by complementing and reflecting the culture and landscape of Inuvik. "Throughout the project, we consulted with school administrators, students, stakeholders and government, and worked hard to ensure their feedback and suggestions were incorporated into the design," says Simon Taylor, partner at Pin/Taylor Architects. "Working with so many people and catering to their different needs was probably the most challenging, and rewarding, part of the process, but the result is well worth the effort." Before the team could break ground, they had to overcome a number of logistical issues presented by site conditions unique to the region. For example, most structures in Inuvik are built atop piles Bird Constr qrt.indd 1 86/    April 2013 p86-87East Three.indd 86 photos: IHOR PONA / courtesy pin/Taylor Architects L East Three School 13-04-05 2:26 PM

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