Shifting States - Alaskan Community Center


Instructor - Matthew Jull

Location - Minto, Alaska

Teamates - Andrew Shea, Michael Tucker, Samantha Kokenge

Fall 2017

Arctic Design Group Website


Water, in each of its three states, possesses powerful qualities. More over, as it changes its properties through freezing and thawing, water’s capabilities change as well. Using natural phenomena, such as sunlight and wind, how can the power of water be enhanced? How can water be utilized as a natural ‘material’ to develop a set of spatial parameters in the Arctic? Through a series of modulated systems, can water be harnessed and aggregated to form new types of spatial conditions? How can building modules use both these natural and artificially generated sources to create new spatial typologies which respond to the Arctic’s drastic seasonal changes? Harnessing the carrying capacity of wind, can building form and facade be accumulated into a new form to collect wind born snow, which through various collection techniques will be able  to insulate and supplement wall systems and assemblies through the build-up of seasonal mass.

The town of Minto, Alaska will be used as a laboratory for understanding the prevalence and flow of water through an urban area, by identifying the sources of water and snow throughout the urban core. Water exists in various forms, from basic surface runoff to the vapor generated by everyday human activities. Through the lens of water, we propose an aggregation of these systems into a mixed-use community center, a program that has been discussed for the town for decades. Mixed use programs demand a flexible spatial typology, requiring a dynamic built enclosure.

Freeze/ Thaw Experiment Apparatus 

State of Alaska - Winter (Left), Summer (Right)

Mapping Of Water Sources In Minto


Typical Housing Conditions


Raised Infrastructures


The Minto Flats


Wall Assemblies


Drifting Snow Conditions


Site Intervention



Test Matrix Of Snow Collection Facade Systems

Existing And Proposed Wall Assemblies

Snow Collection Facade Matrix

Site Map Of The Town Of Minto

Protective Facade Collection System

Section Through Apartment Units