Mertarvik, Alaska • 10,080 sq ft“In my younger years, where I stood in the community, I would look miles and miles away but never see the river’s edge. Today, if you look out from my home, the edge is really just a few steps away.” ━ George Carl VP of Newtok Village Council, Alaska Business Thawing permafrost due to global warming has caused erosion to rapidly encroach on the Yup’ik village of Newtok. Homes are sinking and breaking on unstable ground, mold commonly grows with cyclical flooding, and sewage is regularly dumped just outside of town causing unsanitary and unsafe conditions for living. The Yup’ik are subsistence based, they depend on the land for vitality, but the land is sick and so are many of the residents. Melting sea ice, rising sea levels, and surging storms are all indicative of a climate crisis that is not some distant idea of the future but a present reality. The Yup’ik are the world’s first climate refugees as they are tasked with relocating their village to the recently developed town of Mertarvik. Within this ongoing project, Watt Arch worked alongside government agencies to develop an emergency evacuation center as well as single- and multi-family housing designs to bring integrity and community to the Yup’ik in their new home.