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Indigenous health group wins design award for upcoming sustainable building

Although the building design won an award, the project still needs approval for the land

Dr. Nicole Redvers at the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Camp in Yellowknife. She said although the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation won a design award for a wellness it wants to build, it still needs approval for the land.

Dr. Nicole Redvers at the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Camp in Yellowknife. She said although the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation won a design award for a wellness it wants to build, it still needs approval for the land.

Photo: (Loren McGinnis/CBC)

RCI

The Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation (AIWF) won an international award for the design of a building yet to be built. 

The Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction awarded the silver medal in the North American category — and $50,000 US — to AIWF for its Indigenous Wellness Centre at an award ceremony in Venice on Nov. 13.

The awards are for green and sustainable architectural designs from around the world. 

Dr. Nicole Redvers, chair of AIWF's board of directors, and Mason White, an architect on the project with Toronto-based firm Lateral Office, told CBC's Trailbreaker that although the project has already won an award, it still needs approval for the land from the territorial government. 

Redvers said the planned location for the building is along Frame Lake, near Stanton Territorial Hospital. 

Building has camp-like quality

She said the building design fits with the camp's objective of making the clients feel they are somewhere familiar, by being on the land.

[It's] a space that really is reflective of going into your grandmother's cabin, the smells, the tastes, the feels, Redvers said of the building. 

White said wood and rock will be the primary materials in the building's design but that it will also incorporate natural light and include outdoor gathering spaces. 

The building is basically working off of the principle of the very effective healing camp that's already in place in Yellowknife. [The building] has a camp-like quality, White said. 

AIWF has been operating an on-the-land wellness camp, near the city's Fieldhouse, since 2018.

Luke Carroll (new window) · CBC News with files from Loren McGinnis

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