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November 19, 2010

Winnipeg adds new warming huts for 2011





Following on from the success of architect-designed warming huts on the river skating trail last winter, five new warming huts were unveiled at The Forks in Winnipeg Wednesday. They will later be placed on the river trail once the waterway freezes over.

The three winning designs, “Under the Covers,” “Ha(y)ven” and “WOODPILE” represent Philadelphia, New York and Tel Aviv respectively. University of Manitoba Architecture students created “Cocoon,” and competed with their peers for the winning spot. The final design titled “Jellyfish” comes from architects John and Patricia Patkau, originally from Winnipeg but based out of Vancouver.

“I remember one winter growing up when it was incredibly still and cold and the ice froze on the Red River like a mirror,” said Patricia Patkau. “Fish had frozen in the ice below you and you skated right over them. Surreal. It was a memorable event in a child’s life.”

Over 130 warming hut designs were considered and narrowed down by a jury of Manitoba architects. Construction will begin in January.

“That’s the beauty of this project — you get a number of strange and beautiful designs from all over the world, all with a different story to tell,” offered Peter Hargraves, who oversaw the selection process. “Just adding to the experience is that the trail might take a different form, as well.”

The five new huts will be joined by the five huts from last winter, but high water levels and a high current in the Red and Assiniboine rivers have increased the probability of frazil ice forming on the waterways, injecting some uncertainty into their locations along the river trail. Construction of the new warming huts is scheduled to begin in January.

Architects: Noa Biran, Roy Talmon

A box design that features a metal outside frame and a firepit in the middle of the structure. The walls consist of stacked logs that can be used for the fire. As the weather warms, the walls disappear, signalling the end of winter.

Name: Ha(y)ven
Architects: Tri Nguyen, Jayne Chu, Ben Olschner, Jakob Seyboth

Constructed with hay bales, the cylinder is designed to reach up 18 metres in the air and should provide a noticeable landmark for river-trail enthusiasts.

Name: Under the Covers
Architects: Robert B. Trempe Jr.

Built with wood and lined with Astroturf, this hut is designed to look like a pinch of fabric on the flat snowy surface alongside the trail.

Name: Jellyfish
Architects: John and Patricia Patkau

The best way to detail this design: Wait and see.

Name: Cocoon
Architects: University of Manitoba architecture students

A simple, lightweight frame covered by a flexible membrane. Once completed, river water will be sprayed onto the structure, creating a hard coating of ice that will illuminate the shell.