This September, Three Degrees Warmer and Re-Locate are working with carpenters from Kivalina and JADE Craftsman Builders to renovate the Kivalina Community Center. For decades, Kivalina people have gathered in the Kivalina Community Center to play games, dance, sing, eat, and welcome guests. It has also been a place where Kivalina leaders, together with their neighbors and partners, come together to discuss the future.
Today, because the building is in partial disrepair and not designed to support specific community needs such as village relocation planning, it is not regularly used as a civic or decision making space. It is in need of an update and redesign. Re-Locate architects and partners have been working with both Councils and people from around Kivalina for the past four years to develop a design that responds to specific community needs, and has successfully fundraised capital costs from ArtPlace America to renew and rebuild the building.
The need for an updated building is urgent. Much of Kivalina’s relocation planning has historically been done in Anchorage, such that community participation in meetings and day-to-day planning activities is not always possible. Renovations create an updated space for the important historic and contemporary uses of the Kivalina Community Center while re-centering relocation planning in the village and housing numerous platforms designed in support of the relocation process. The space will house a range of locally progammed events to informal and highly curated engagements centered around Kivalina’s planning process and its implications for responses to climate change worldwide, including:
Between September 5–September 29, 2017, the Crew will:
The building renovation will be completed by 4 Kivalina Crew members (Charles Adams, Repogle Swan, Sr., Oran Knox, Jr., and Robert Hawley) and JADE Craftsman Builders from Whidbey Island, WA, led by Dan Neumeyer, Taz Squire, and Micheal Cox.
JADE Craftsman Builders’ Owner and Principal Dan Neumeyer is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley Architecture Program who brings over 30 years of residential and commercial Project Management and urban and suburban construction experience to the renovation. JADE’s involvement in Three Degrees Warmer and the Re-Locate project also ties Dan’s current work with that of his lifelong mentor, Bill Coperthwaite. In 1971, Bill Coperthwaite visited Kivalina and 19 other villages while on a trip to Alaska to learn about Native heritage and artifacts. He visited the schools in each village and his tour came to be known as A Traveling Museum of Eskimo Culture. Jen Marlow of Three Degrees Warmer was also a student of Bill Coperthwaite’s.
Jen Marlow and Michael Gerace of Re-Locate are also joining the crew, after working for the past few four years to manage the process of community organizing, fundraising, design, logistics (with help from Teck and AML), hiring, and now construction for the renovated community center and relocation planning space.
We are grateful to ArtPlace America’s Creative Placemaking grant program for its generous support of the Re-Locate project, and would also like to thank the members of Architecture without Borders Austria for their early organizing support and their assistance with developing design concepts for a reprogrammed community space.