Canada’s entry at the Venice Biennale in Architecture has been recognized as one of the top exhibits at the international event.

“Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15” celebrates the territory’s fifteenth birthday.

The display includes soapstone carvings of existing buildings in Nunavut, scale models of each of Nunavut's 25 communities, and a series of 15 architecture models and animations of future possible homes and institutional buildings related to health, arts, education and recreation.

Curated by Toronto-based Lateral Office, the work is made up of contributions from several people both in and out of Nunavut. 

Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15

David Nibgoarsi points to his house in a scale model of Arviat at the 'Arctic Adaptations: Nunavut at 15' exhibit at the Venice Biennale in Architecture. Nibgoarsi was one of several Inuit whose carvings are on display as part of the project. (Arctic Adaptations)

"It's striking a nice balance between hitting people's curiosity and making them want to know more about this place,” said Mason White of Lateral Office. “And inspiring them with possibilities of how architecture can be as adaptive as the people can be in this region."

More than a dozen people from Nunavut were in Venice for the grand opening of the event, including Gwen Healey, director of the Qaujigiartiit Health Research Centre in Iqaluit.

She helped work on a hypothetical healing centre, and says she is extremely proud.

"The exhibit really showcases some of the innovation and creativity and artistic prowess of Nunavummiut,” she said.

The pavilion was one of three national displays to receive a special mention by the judges, who said they wanted to recognize "its in-depth study of how modernity adapts to a unique climatic condition and a local minority culture."

The Venice Biennale opened to the public on Saturday and will remain open until November.

After that, “Nunavut at 15” will tour Canada.