CKAU Mani-Utenam Radio Station

Photo credit: Optik360

On February 28, 2024, EVOQ architects, Eric Moutquin and Joyce Yam attended the inauguration ceremony of the new CKAU radio station.

Among the guests present at the event were Paul-Arthur Mitshapeu McKenzie, the visionary founder of the radio station in 1984, Chief Mike McKenzie, Gilbert Vollant, the general director of CKAU, and more.

During the event, Mr. Benoit St-Onge, president of the board of directors, highlighted the role that the radio station plays in shaping the identity of the Uashat mak Mani-utenam community: “CKAU serves as a vital instrument for the preservation of our Innu-Aimun language within the community of Uashat mak Maliotenam.”

The Innu community of the Côte-Nord is currently experiencing a development. One of the priorities has been to highlight the cultural and linguistic wealth within the community. The desire to preserve and promote Innu identity has manifested through various projects, including the new CKAU radio station located in the heart of the Uashat mak Mani-Utenam community.

Photo credit: Optik360

This architectural project draws inspiration from elements of Innu culture and reflects a commitment to preserving traditions and raising awareness of contemporary issues affecting the Innu community.

In alignment with the radio station’s mission, the new building aims to “enhance the community’s media communications through a network of diversified services.” It also “aspires to foster community development, promote and preserve the Innu-aimun language and Innu culture, and inform and raise awareness among the Innu community on current issues and events that affect their daily lives through popular education,” according to CKAU.

The architectural concept draws inspiration from elements of Innu culture and aims to foster a sense of belonging and a unifying character for the site.

The building’s shape, the textures of the exterior envelope, and the folded roofs aim to evoke the fabric of an Innu tent, Pipun-shaputan. Locaqted at the corner of Montagnais and de l’Église streets in an L-shape, the building occupies both street fronts. This not only optimizes the use of urban space, but also creates an interesting distribution of interior spaces for the users.

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The interior spaces of the building feature tons of natural light. A bold gesture of splitting the two lighter volumes with a darker one was used to signify the entrance of a “tent” to invite people to enter. To enhance the tent in its environment, as well as to reference the tall black spruce forests of the Côte-Nord, the building’s base is clad in striated wood and the entrance is adorned with large vertical wooden elements.

Photo credit: Optik360

The second-floor windows on the faces are covered with perforated metal panels featuring a pattern inspired by the landscape and wildlife of the Côte-Nord.

From the inside, these panels filter daylight, casting a shadow reminiscent of the translucent fabric used for Pipun-Shaputan tents. Elements such as the shaking tent, Kushapetsheken Apetuamiss Uashat (former name of the radio station), as well as the Innu language and music are highlighted in the building’s interior design. Upon entering the building, visitors are greeted by a double-height reception space, offering views from above. This functional and inspiring area serves as versatile space for gatherings or performances.

Photo credit: Optik360

Ultimately, the building was designed to embody Innu cultural symbols and geographical influences, with its distinctive architecture and choice of materials paying homage to the region’s rich cultural heritage. The project’s concept represents the Pipun-Shaputuan tent within its natural landscape. Aptly named Kushapetsheken, which translates to “shaking tent”, the radio station celebrates its traditional roots while embracing modernity.

Photo credit: Optik360


Technical sheet:

Client: Adam Fontaine – Innu takuaikan Uashat Mak Mani-Utenam

Gaelle André-Lescop – Conseil Tribal Mamuitan

Gilbert Vollant – Radio CKAU

Building Area: 240m2

Construction Budget: 3.9M$

Architects: EVOQ Architecture

Eric Moutquin

Joyce Yam

Karine Dieujuste

Anya Messaoud-Nacer

Julia Hervieux

Marcel Goulet

Gabriel Paquette-Méthé

General Contractor: Mishkau

Structure: Ashini

Civil: Ashini

Quality Control: Englobe

Mechanical and Electrical: Ashini

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