Sign In, Renew, Sign Up

Search AIA

Search AIA Go

Architect's Knowledge ResourceDocuments

Page Tools

Reed Insight and Community


Nunavut Justice Centre

Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada


In 1999, Canada’s map changed and “Nunavut” an Inuktitut word meaning "our land" emerged. This created Canada's first and only single level court and replaced the Territorial Court and the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. The design of the new Justice Centre draws inspiration from Inuit carvings, artwork, the broad sweeping vistas and the stark beauty of the low arctic tundra landscape. A local team of specialists and interpreters were crucial to enhance the subtleties and complexities of the design The facility is integrated into the sloping landscape. The building responds to the contours of the land and flows towards Iqaluit’s prime view of Koojesse Inlet and the mountains beyond. The gentle curves of the plan reflect the flowing lines of Inuit art. Spaces requiring views and natural light enjoy a southerly exposure while utility and circulation spaces are oriented to the north with little glass. Public waiting areas and the main staff work area take advantage of views towards the harbor and city. Public areas are planned to allow easy way finding and orientation, crucial due to the obstacle four languages give to signage. All spaces are handicapped accessible. Public areas are designed to create inviting and calming environments. Plentiful natural light, views to the outside, warm colors are intended to reduce stress levels in a highly emotional environment. The Courtrooms are planned with optimal views between all participants and are subtle in tone and allude to cultural influences of Inuit culture. The forms and dynamic movement of Inuit sculpture are reflected in the massing. Mono-sloped roof forms create an upward flow and large glazed areas create bold positive and negative shapes. The metal panels are finished in a combination of colors that represent the ever-changing hues of green and blue in the sky, water and rocks.



Department of Community & Government Services


Type of facility


Type of construction


Site Area

12.47 acres

Area of building

26,900 SF

Total cost of construction


Status of Project




Number Ten Architectural Group

Structural engineer

Accutech Engineering Inc.

Mechanical engineer

Accutech Engineering Inc.

Electrical engineer

Accutech Engineering Inc.

Civil engineer

Dillon Consulting

Landscape architect

Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram

Acoustic engineer

Daniel Lyzun & Associates Ltd.

Quantity surveyors

Hanscomb Limited


Footer Navigation

Copyright & Privacy

  • © The American Institute of Architects
  • Privacy