I’m using Kickstarter to raise funds for participation in The Arctic Circle, a residency for artists, architects, and scientists that takes place in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard. During the residency, I plan to explore the landscape and existing settlements and use that research as the basis for a book, Arctic Architecture: Svalbard.
The book will include maps, diagrams, large-format photographs, and drawings that document the past and present, along with several theoretical projects that show how climate change might affect future settlement of this currently inhospitable landscape. Recent projects by Norwegian architecture firm Jarmund/Vigsnæs, as well as the “Doomsday Vault” in Longyearbyen, demonstrate how architecture in Svalbard is affected by geographic isolation and the extreme climate. I want to take these influences even further, exploring what the architecture of Svalbard could be like decades or even centuries from now.
With some scientists claiming that the North Pole will be completely free of summer ice by the year 2040, the Arctic is a region undergoing massive change. Previously inaccessible energy reserves – which will ironically accelerate global warming when they are extracted – are a source of potential conflict for Arctic nations. The region is becoming a focal point for climate scientists, multinational corporations, military leaders, and government officials. It should also be a focal point for architects. My book, potentially the first in a series, will look at Svalbard as a microcosm of the inevitable environmental and geopolitical upheaval that the Arctic will experience in coming years.
Visit my Kickstarter project and Arctic Architecture on Facebook for more information. Archival prints, digital and physical copies of the book, and other rewards are available to those who pledge support. Supplemental audio and video material from the expedition will also be available at http://arcticarchitecture.org/ later this year.