Description of Historic Place
Located on flat gravel in a remote Arctic site, the ATWELL Dormitory is a long narrow, prefabricated one-storey building covered by a wood-framed pitched roof. The exterior of the building is covered with painted metal cladding. The main entrance to the building is located in the middle of the long side-wall and faces the adjacent dormitory building. Small windows are located at regular intervals along the structure. The Dormitory is built on a raised wood open-sided platform. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The ATWELL Dormitory building is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The ATWELL Dormitory building at FOX-M main station provides one of the best illustrations associated with the continental air-defence programs during the Cold War, the opening of the Canadian Arctic to Federal Government programs and services, the growth of Hall Beach, an important Arctic community, and its role in establishing and maintaining a Canadian military presence in the Canadian Arctic. As part of one of four main stations constructed for the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, the ATWELL Dormitory as part of the FOX-M complex was part of a joint US-Canada effort to monitor Arctic airspace through an innovative radar and radio system designed to provide advance warning to North American military authorities of a possible air attack from the Soviet Union. FOX-M also served as a regional communications hub, supply center and administrative base for 8 to 10 auxiliary and intermediate stations in the area and the ATWELL Dormitory contributed to the residential needs of the main station.
The ATWELL Dormitory is a good example of a functional military structure. Its design reveals a unified design concept that resulted from a skillfully planned, expertly executed and highly funded building program. Its high quality materials and components are part of a design program that responded directly to both military considerations and to the remote Arctic location of the site. Its raised platform foundation, its very good functional design and the gravel pad around the building area also demonstrate a competent engineering solution for quick construction in the permafrost zone of the Canadian North.
The ATWELL Dormitory is located in the airfield sector of the FOX-M DEW Line station and is set within a tightly formed row of warehouses and dormitories. They sit on the gravel bed that covers the airfield sector and by which all the buildings and the airfield are connected. The ATWELL Dormitory contributes to the present military character of the setting. The DEW Line station is well known in the adjacent community of Hall Beach and visitors to the hamlet are often treated to a visit to the station.
FOX-M, Hall Beach, Nunavut, Federal Heritage Building Report 99-021
ATWELL (ATWELL) Building 20C, FOX-M Station, Hall Beach, Nunavut, Heritage Character Statement
The following character defining elements of the ATWELL Dormitory should be respected, for example:
Its functional military structure, form, construction and materials as manifested in:
- Its scale and massing as a rectangular structure with a pitched roof.
- Its exterior prefabricated metal cladding and the size, form and spacing of door
and window openings.
- The raised wood open-sided platform that the building rests on.
-The gravel pad as the primary landscape feature to provide a barrier between buildings
and the permafrost and to create a level surface for vehicle accessibility on the site.
The manner in which the ATWELL building defines the arrangement of buildings in the airfield sector and contributes to the technological/military character of the FOX-M Station site in its military-industrial complex setting.