Lee, Molly and Greg A. Reinhardt (2003) Eskimo Architecture: Dwelling and Structure in the Early Historic Period, University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks.

Keywords: architecture and designCircumpolar Northseasonal patterns of activity

Lee and Reinhardt provide illustrations and descriptions of the architecture of the Inuit peoples of Alaska (Yup’ik, Inupiaq, and Alutiiq), Canada (Inuit), Greenland (Kalaallit) from the earliest historic period (Martin Frobisher’s 1577 expedition) to the middle of the twentieth century. This covers the last period in which Inuit were solely responsible for design and construction of their houses and other structures.

Central Inuit (Canadian) made stone and sod winter houses. By the mid-nineteenth century they were living in snowhouses, or snowblock iglus (p. 39). Inuit winter settlements consisted of several domed structures and could support several dozen people. Snowhouses varied throughout the Central Arctic.

Inuit in Labrador lived in semi-subterranean stone or wood houses covered in turf during the winter. An average of 20 people lived in these dwellings. The Sallirmiut of Southampton Island winter dwellings were made of whale bone and limestone slabs. About two to four families could live in these houses (p. 47). The Sallirmiut also built limestone salmon caches and other storage structures that were short and conical in shape (p. 66).

There are two types of transitional season houses, or qarmat, that Inuit inhabited in the autumn. A common form of qarmaq was a semi-permanent, small structure made from walls of stone, turf, whale bones, a stone platform, and skin roof (p. 52). The large, octagonal qarmaq made from freshwater ice-slabs was less common. The latter qarmaq were built on land but close to both ocean and freshwater (p. 53).

Housing during the summer months consisted of different variations of tents.