By Harold Strub

Designing effectively for individuals within the world's coldest climates calls for a extensive figuring out of web site stipulations and their detailed social context. beforehand such wisdom usually lay unarticulated within the minds of some skilled practitioners or within the disappearing traditions of aboriginal peoples.

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Elicits a stony stare from most garage mechanics. Perhaps they are hardened by the belief that they are treated as saviours by the mechanically inept when the car breaks down and as lowlifes the rest of the time. Mike even has the reputation for being downright rude to strangers, but he does get the job done. Many years ago he turned up at a lumber camp in the Peace River country direct from Italy. He spoke no English. Nor did the Cree lumberjacks. The first Cree words Mike learned are unspeakable.

The house here has two. The first, beginning at road level, open, made of wood and married to the cliff face, snakes up to a landing at tree top level. There a main entrance leads to the second staircase, this one totally enclosed in a wooden shell. Straight and parallel to the rock slope, here about thirty degrees, the second stair ends with a back entrance to a wood deck patio at the top of the outcrop. For every three metres of rise there is a landing. For every landing there is a clutch of rooms, to the left and to the right, all enclosed in the shell, but most without partitions.

Below bodies of water too deep to freeze all the way to the bottom a bulb of unfrozen soil co-exists with the surrounding permafrost. Continuous permafrost creates a vast tabletop just below the ground surface that is impervious to water flow. Water cannot percolate through frozen soil—it can either transpire, evaporate, stagnate on the permafrost table, or run down to the sea in summer if the tabletop is sloped in the right direction. This means that plant nutrients remain locked in the frozen ground.

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