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January 8, 2010

‘Love huts’ to keep skaters warm – Artists, architects will liven up river trail

Antoine Predock and Scatliff+Miller+Murray

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Skaters on Winnipeg’s river trail will soon be able to thaw out in five imaginative new warm-up “love shacks,” including one that resembles a tinfoil igloo and one in the form of an ice-covered hanging orb.

On Thursday, organizers at The Forks released the designs for five shelters to be part of The Warming Hut: An Art + Architecture Exposition on Ice. Five teams, each consisting of architects paired with an artist or landscape design firm, have each received $9,000 to design and construct a warming hut. Paul Jordan, chief operating officer at The Forks, expects Winnipeg skaters to find their own ways to generate heat in the huts.

“You can stop and warm up, you can change your skates, or you can do whatever you want — which often happens,” he said with a laugh. “We call them ‘the love shacks’ for a reason.” The exposition is being touted as a Canadian first.”We see this becoming an annual event that eventually morphs into a competition,” Jordan said.

This year’s huts were commissioned, but in future years a call will go out for entries in the hope of generating international interest. Each year’s warming huts will be saved and reused, so the collection will grow.

The highest-profile participating architect is Antoine Predock, designer of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, who lives in Albuquerque, N.M.

Winnipeg Free Press