Tulita Community Centre and Town Office

Modular Building Category: Permanent
Category: Office, Institution of Assembly
Location: Hamlet of Tulita, NWT, Canada
Number of Modules: 13
Total square feet: 6,336
Number of levels: 1
Average size of modules: 12x40
Date of production: July 11, 2014
Date occupied: October 28, 2014
Use of building: Town office and cultural centre, including a radio room – it’s a multipurpose building for the remote community 

Architectural Excellence

Tulita is a remote hamlet in the Northwest Territories, Canada that Alta-Fab worked with to custom-design, build, and install a new town office and cultural centre to bring together the citizens in a comfortable space with a permanent feeling to gather, work, and connect.

Due to the extreme northern and remote location, the project presented many logistical challenges and innovative solutions. We ensured as much work as possible was completed in Alta-Fab’s plant to avoid the high costs of flying employees to the construction site.

The modules were built and tested in the Alta-Fab shop and then taken apart for shipping. All connections were checked for easy re-assembly and to guarantee they worked once on-site.

 The modules and other materials were shipped by a barge, which ran on a limited seasonal schedule, due to the secluded northern location. We carefully planned the schedules to match up with the barge’s schedule. We also used innovative building methods because the barge’s capacity and the supply of building equipment in Tulita was limited.

With no access to cranes, our modules needed to be moved from barge and onto steel foundation piles with the equipment available. To do this, the structure of the modules incorporated a steel permanent handling frame, which also provided savings in the foundation structure.

Technical Innovation and Sustainability

To contend with extreme environmental conditions in the far north—where temperatures can reach as low as -54C, not factoring in wind chill—special attention was given to the building envelope, which was guided by local engineering experts. 

We layered various insulation types and used a cost-effective heating and ventilating system comprised of oil-fired boilers, including primary and back-up boilers.

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