Nomads of light : a housing paradigm for the North
Author(s)Li, Hui, M. Arch. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Housing paradigm for the North
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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Life in the North has changed dramatically in the past 60 years. Nomadic people of North have been forced to settle down into permanent housing since 1950s. Imported Euro- Canadian single-family housing replaced vernacular nomadic housing. Arctic is and will be undergoing even more dramatic influences from the south due to oil exploitation and recently opened Northwest Passage. Will the North be overwhelmed with South way of thinking through globalization? What is the proper housing paradigm for life in the North? A nomadic lifestyle and light are the most important two factors for life in the North. Not a nomadic people chasing food resources anymore, nomadic lifestyle of moving around within a smaller community is still important in terms of sharing economy and community identity. There have been two modes of housing in the North: Inuit winter igloo and Euro-Canadian housing. For Inuit igloos, different chambers are not constrained to a particular program or particular family; people wander around and utilize different chambers in one's own way. According to anthropologist Peter Dawson, contemporary Inuit has transformed Euro-Canadian housing model to fit their nomadic lifestyle. North light determines the way people live and creates geographical identity. On one hand, winter light is so scarce that people are getting winter depression and alcoholism. On the other hand, summer light is so abundant and full of high saturation colors that people find every possible way to enjoy the sunshine. This thesis proposes a housing paradigm for the North - nomads of light. Like a light machine, it captures sunlight atmosphere at different times of a day and different times of a year. At a community scale, different families live in a nomadic lifestyle to chase the precious sunshine. At a body scale, a person adjusts himself to chase the sunlight in one's own way. As an opportunity seeker, this housing model maximizes the pleasure of living in the North and creates geographical and cultural identity.
Thesis: M. Arch., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 106-107).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology