Main Research Building

Janice Lang, DRDC/DND

The Main Research Building includes research labs, centres for technology development and knowledge sharing, office space, and spaces for teaching, training, and community engagement.

POLAR staff moved into the Main Research Building office spaces in June 2018. Approximately one third of the space in this building is accessible to the public. Some of the public spaces in the Main Research Building are located near the main entrance.

On this page

Rooms inside the Main Research Building

If a room is marked as a public space, it can be booked using this form:

Name Description and specifications Photo Public space Floor
Knowledge Sharing Centre

The Knowledge Sharing Centre is a space where local Inuit and scientists can meet, discuss and exchange scientific knowledge in a circular environment with cushioned benches. This multi-purpose room can accommodate various events (e.g. presentations, educational or community events) and includes recording, interpretation and broadcasting equipment. The Knowledge Sharing Centre and areas throughout the station uses culturally relevant artifacts and art to enhance the character of the station under an Arctic and Inuit theme.

Capacity: 40 people

Size: 9.8 x 9.8 meters (32 x 32 feet)


  • Interactive white board
  • Simultaneous interpretation equipment
Yes Ground floor
Multi-use space

This is a large open space that is available to the public and can be used for a variety of purposes, including conferences, workshops and meetings.

Capacity: 126 people

Size: 12 x 12.5 meters (40 x 41 feet)


  • Projector and large screen
  • Microphones and speakers
  • Simultaneous interpretation equipment
Yes Ground floor
Interview room(s)

The two interview rooms were designed to function as small meeting rooms, as well as spaces to easily conduct interviews and to discuss research.

Capacity: 4 people

Size: 3 x 3.5 meters (10 x 12 feet)


  • Teleconferencing capacities
Yes Ground floor
Informal meeting area This is an open area that was specifically designed to be used by business development support agencies as a business resource centre. Yes Ground floor
Meeting room(s)

The two meeting rooms are equipped with a conference table for four (4) to six (6) people. A flat screen monitor is available for presentations, web-based training, or brainstorming.

Capacity: 4 to 6 people

Size: 3 x 4 meters (10 x 13 feet)


  • Teleconferencing capabilities
  • Interactive white board
Yes Ground floor
Large boardroom

The large room is equipped with a conference table for up to twenty-eight (28) people. Three (3) flat screen monitors are available for presentations.

Capacity: 28 people

Size: 13.5 x 5 meters (44 x 16 feet)


  • teleconferencing capabilities
  • Videoconferencing capabilities
  • Interactive white board
Yes Ground floor
Modular office This space is an enclosed work area that has multiple work stations and is to be used by visiting researchers. No Ground floor
Interpretation room

This room is located between the Knowledge Sharing Centre and the multi-use space. It provides appropriate equipment for translation services to ensure comfortable and effective participation in conferences, workshops, joint meetings and traditional knowledge sharing and/or cultural activities.

Capacity: 5 people

Size: 4.5 x 3 meters (15 x 10 feet)


  • Simultaneous interpretation equipment
Yes Ground floor
Audio-Visual Studio This room includes audio-visual (AV) equipment and is to be used for an event or activity. Yes Ground floor
Animal necropsy laboratory and large animal necropsy laboratory These labs provide the necessary tools, equipment and space for scientists to examine, dissect and analyze animal corpses. They allow researchers to study Arctic wildlife such as waterfowl, fish, seals and muskox on a large necropsy table. The lab will contain a gantry (overhead) crane above the autopsy table, allowing heavy specimens can be transferred into the building through an airlock. No Ground floor
Biological Teaching Laboratory This is a hands-on biological teaching laboratory for scientists and students No Ground floor
Cold laboratory This multi-purpose lab facilitates the testing and analysis of insects, seeds, snow, and ice samples. When used as a cold lab, it is kept at a temperature of -4° to -10° Celsius, but can be converted to a wet lab. No Ground floor
Clean laboratory This lab provides an ultra-clean environment with low levels of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes or chemical vapors. No Ground floor
Digital imaging This space is centrally located for digital imaging and microscope work. It has dedicated vibration protection equipment used for delicate imaging work. No Ground floor
Storage A number of storage spaces are located throughout the station, housing much of the equipment and materials necessary for its operations. Other specific storage spaces will be used to safely store chemicals, gases and as used battery storage. No Ground floor
Cold room The cold room is used for short-term storage of samples in a controlled temperature of 4°C. No Ground floor
Mechanical workshop The workshop supports the technology functions of the Science and Technology Plan. It is an open engineering workshop with reconfigurable work benches, machinery, etc. for testing and construction of equipment. No Ground floor
Freezers and refrigerators The freezers and refrigerators serve as a long-term specimen bank for the station. Researchers are also able to use this space as controlled short-term storage for their samples. The temperature is controlled at -20°C. No Ground floor
Teaching laboratory The lab provides a space for teaching science and laboratory techniques. During peak season, the lab can be used for additional wet laboratory or preparation space by scientists. No Ground floor
Reference collection The reference collection supports the teaching lab and can store samples of insects, plants, creatures, etc. found in the Arctic ecosystem. Some samples fixed in formaldehyde are stored in diluted ethanol in ventilated cabinets. There is a mix of specimen cabinets, herbarium, and high density storages cabinets for dry specimens. No Ground floor
Kitchen The kitchen includes a working area for preparation, cooking and serving food, dishwashing facilities, as well as cold and dry storage space. This space is not yet available to the public. No Ground floor
General analytical laboratory This is the general science laboratory. Its use is determined by the researchers and scientists that are in the station at any given time. No Second floor
General Computing Laboratory

This lab offers 18 computer workstations; four high performance workstations and fourteen conventional workstations. Extended services include digital microscopy, imaging services, GIS (geographic information system) services, high performance computing, cluster computing, virtual reality interfaces, rapid prototyping, data recovery, video conferencing, smartboards, and more.

Capacity: 22 people

Size: 7.5 x 8.5 meters (25 x 38 feet)


  • 18 computer stations
  • Additional computing services
Yes Second floor
Growth chamber This laboratory allows scientists to better study various types of vegetation and insects in a controlled environment. In this lab, scientists are also able to conduct CO2 enrichment experiments. There will be pre-manufactured growth chambers in the lab. No Second floor
Genomics laboratory This lab provides the space and tools needed for procedures/ activities requiring isolation and those which possess the potential dangers of contamination. No Second floor
Lay-down space This flexible open space also supports the technology functions of the Science and Technology Program, and can be used as a marshalling area in the winter for sorting and washing field trip gear. No Second floor

Integrated artwork and sculptures in the Main Research Building

Inuit culture and innovation have played a central role in the design of CHARS. Two pan-northern competitions for integrated artwork were undertaken by the lead architects. The theme for the competitions was "Honouring the timeless creative genius of the Inuit".

The first competition was completed in December 2016, and was seeking artwork that would be integrated into the floors and glass. The second competition was finalized in March 2017, seeking a design for the sculpture on display at the main entry vestibule.

A large three-piece wall hanging was also commissioned from the Kitikmeot Heritage Society Elders in Residence.

Sculptures on display and artwork integrated into the floors and glass

Artist Artwork information About Photo
Bobby Anavilok
Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada

Title: "Survival and Improvisation"

Location: Integrated into the floor near the kitchen and the multi-use space

From the Artist: "We hunted caribou year round, sometimes using inuksuks to indicate where caribou migrations would pass, and also to locate ourselves within space and provide us with a sense of direction for travel. Spring and summer were reserved for hunting migratory birds and making fish traps that we placed in rivers from which we would then harvest with kakivaks (fish spears).

"Seal was primarily used for its blubber, a thick layer of fat, which would be burned into an oil on Kuliks (soapstone lamps), its fur used to make clothing and its hide used for the transportation of goods and equipment (gear carriers). Before sleds were made with manmade materials like those used today, the sled runners (Aaliaks/kamotiks) would be made from fish lined lengthwise and well wrapped in seal hide, then placed back into the water and finally pulled out so the entire object could freeze. There are two parts of a sled (runners) that slide on ice or snow, the second one being caribou antlers. These would be tied in parallel to the frozen fish wrapped in hide."

Ningiukulu Teevee
Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada

Title: "Many stories"

Location: Exterior wall of the Knowledge Sharing Centre

About: Ningiukulu Teevee is a renowned artist from Cape Dorset. Her first children's book, Alego, was shortlisted for the 2009 Governor General's Award for children's literature illustration. Teevee's drawings reveal a focused, introspective mind, one that bridges the space between two worlds: the westernized world of the modern Inuit, and the vibrant world of myths and legends that transcend generations. Her decisive, unwavering lines reveal a thorough knowledge of her subjects, while the flattened perspectives speak to an interest in creating more than mere facsimile, unveiling the underlying truths within Inuit legends.
Sammy Kudluk
Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Canada

Title: "Drum Dancers"

Location: Integrated into the floor of the Knowledge Sharing Centre

From the Artist: "I selected this theme [drum dancers] for my submission to the CHARS art contest, along with drawings about the Iqaluktuudamiut Culture. The drum dancers stand out as a very unique representation of Kitikmeot society in that part of Inuit Nunangat. When I drew the dancers, I could hear them very loudly and imagine the strong cultural connection to their past and heritage. That's why I chose to draw them in my art submissions. Every time I watch and hear the drum dancers perform, it makes me want to dance with them."
Tim Pitsiulak
Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada

Title: "Beluga whales and a bowhead"

Location: Flooring in the hallway leading from the multi-use space to the private working areas.

About: An established Inuk artist born in Kimmirut, Nunavut and based in Cape Dorset, Tim Pitsiulak's art was featured on the Canadian quarter and in art galleries around the country. This artwork is the last major piece done by Pitsiulak before his passing in December 2016.
Ulaayu Piluurtut
Kangirsujuaq, Nunavik, Canada

Title: "Animals becoming Humans"

Location: Featured on the glass of the offices and meeting spaces on the second floor

From the Artist: "In Inuit legends, many stories are told about animals becoming humans or vice versa. The legends were considered as spirits living on the land and among Inuit. A lot of these stories have different meanings, for example, a nanuq (polar bear) becoming human after being chased by humans. He ran away to the beach and spoke like an Inuk and then embarked on a qajak (kayak) (sealskin boat). This is something I grew up with, listening to these kinds of stories. "

I also believed that the legends were real to some extent, for example, in the case of a half fish-half human. Some people would go mussel picking and one day, a woman found a mermaid who was stuck on the land. She had no way of getting back to the water, so she asked the woman to transport her to it using some driftwood and told the lady she would pay her if she helped put her back into the water. The legends live on in our stories up until this generation; it is they that inspired me in my drawings."

Vicky Grey
Kangirsuk, Nunavik, Canada

Title: "Drum and Spear head"

Location: Featured on the glass of the offices and meeting spaces on the second floor

Not available
Manasie Akpaliapik
Ikpiarjuk (Arctic Bay), Nunavut, Canada

Title: "Everyday Life in the Arctic"

Location: Display case outside the Knowledge Sharing Centre

Not available
Peter Boy Itukallak
Puvirnituq, Quebec

Title: "Polar bear emerging from Sea Ice"

Location: Display case outside the Knowledge Sharing Centre

Not available
Sammy Kudluk
Kuujjuaq, Nunavik

Title: Untitled

Location: Display case outside the Knowledge Sharing Centre

Not available
Koomuatuk (Kuzy) Curley
Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada

Title: Ningiuq amma Nanuq "Elder and polar bear"

Location: Entry vestibule of the Main Research Building Italian alabaster, serpentine and pine wood. Enlarged three-dimensional piece.

From the Artist: "The carving is about Elders and how they guide us with their knowledge. Science is not new to the Arctic. It began long ago, with Inuit ancestors observing the world and sharing their thoughts with younger generations. Today, Elders continue to urge traditional and modern knowledge to move forward, guiding the powerful force of Inuit culture like the Elder in this carving leads her bear.

"Inuit have a strong relationship with the nanuq (polar bear). They respect them for their strength, and as the most powerful hunters on land and sea. In the past, Inuit would adopt polar bears. This carving illustrates one popular story of a grandmother who adopted a bear cub, and the cub is now grown.

"The nanuq is meaningful to Kuzy Curley as a symbol in his art. Like knowledge, bears are a source of power, history and memory that Inuit Elders respect. They also symbolize the environment that Inuit ancestors have learned to live with in harmony. With the Arctic facing threats such as climate change and at risk of losing traditional languages and culture, the bear stands for what is at risk of being lost to Inuit."

Annie Panak Atighioyak, Mary Akariuk Avalak, Mabel Pongok Etegik
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada

Title: "A Stitch in Time"

Location: Hallway leading past the multi-use space

About: Commissioned from the Kitikmeot Heritage Society Elders in residence. Three-piece wall hanging. In trying to create a visual narrative for the evolution of both Cambridge Bay and its population, elders decided to create a series of different portraits throughout time: one depicting local Inuit 100 years ago (2015 marks the anniversary of the first significant western contact with Copper Inuit populations through the Canadian Arctic Expedition), one depicting local Inuit 50 years ago, and one showing present populations.

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