Minimum Cost Housing / Hackathon Group wins 2018 National Urban Design Award


Published: 22Oct2018

Bringing together an interdisciplinary design team from southern Quebec with more than 60 residents, the Kuujjuaq Hackathon, a five-day event in September 2017, capitalized on local building expertise and leadership to reimagine key public spaces. The unique initiative won in the Small and Medium Scale Urban Fragments category.

“The Hackathon provides a unique precedent that challenges governments, schools, and architectural practices to adopt a more collaborative approach to policymaking and design leadership in northern Canada,” according to the project organizers at the McGill Minimum Cost Housing Group. “It has been instrumental in valorizing the rich design / build culture that already exists in Nunavik.”

Organized by the Minimum Cost Housing / Hackathon Group and the northern village of Kuujjuaq, the event repurposed found materials from the village dump to enhance a variety of public spaces including construction of an all season, outdoor sports pavilion. Hacks are a response to institutionalized inadequacy and are found in every culture. They advance the notion that the reuse and recycling of defunct parts and existing technologies can radically transform everyday life.

The National Urban Design awards were jointly established by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CLSA) to promote the public and private awareness of good urban design. The Urban Design Awards program recognizes individuals, organizations, firms and projects that have contributed to the quality of life in our Canadian cities and their sustainability.


  • Project Leads: Vikram Bhatt, David Harlander, Susane Havelka
  • Project Coordinators: Ron Gordon, David Harlander
  • Partners: Marie-Pierre McDonald, Tunu Napartuk
  • Design Team: Vikram Bhatt, Kassanda Bonneville, Justin Bouttell, Maggie Cabana Andrée-Anne Caron-Boisvert, David Harlander, Susane Havelka, Emmanuelle Lauzier, Alexandre Morin, Flavie Martineau, Mae Ningiuruvik, Paul Parsons

For an expanded project description please see the links below:

For general enquiries, please email david.harlander [at]

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