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Warming Huts v.2016: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice

The Warming Huts v.2016: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice has once again been a huge success. This competition, endorsed by the Manitoba Association of Architects, invited architects from all over the world to submit proposals for warming huts online at

For the 2016 submissions, entries either fell into a Shelter or Installation category. The submissions were then reviewed by a “blind” jury, meaning they have no background information on who submitted the designs or where they are from. The jury, who reviewed more than 160 submissions from around the globe, chose two winning Shelter designs and one Installation.

2016 Warming Hut Winners:

Temple, by: Kirill Bair and Daria Lisitsyna, from Russia

Temple follows the structure of the ancient Greek places of worship, but it is simply a form assembled from steel fuel drums and pieces of recycled material.

The philosophy is as follows: it is possible to build a temple and worship all that is connected with it. At the same time, some choose to worship things that have no meaning without a temple. Here, you can hear buzzing noises and metal pipes inside when they knock against each other. This Temple is a form without content. A place of worship connected to nothing but the wind. But do we choose to worship or not? We often forget about our true values and what this replaces.

Ice Maze, by: Andreas Mede, from California, USA

Ice Maze is an interactive art installation, a temporary sculpture designed to allow children to experience movement through a variety of spatial situations, from tight restrictions to openings into greater spaces dominated by the sky. The idea is for children to engage with the space and have fun; to create their own mysteries, to get lost, to find their way. Once inside, the child’s senses are dominated by the sky, by the ice, and by the dimensions of a variety of spaces; the outside world is (for the moment) set aside. Ice Maze is constructed from ice blocks cut from the river, stacked and sprayed with a thin mist of water creating a solid sheen of ice. In spring, it melts and is gone; the memory remains, but then also fades with time.

Shelterbelt, by: Robert B Trempe Jr, from Nebraska, USA

The beauty of barren trees and tall grass in the prairie during winter is matched only by the sounds of their branches and brush moving in the wind from the plains. It’s a constant and subtle rustle that becomes both an audible landmark and sonic envelope. These shelterbelts, planted by farmers, operate as protective areas for animal feeding as well as landmarks and delineations on the open landscape.

This ‘Shelterbelt’ seeks to reimagine the qualities of these windbreakers through an environment of steel rebar. Several hundred steel stalks of varying lengths are anchored vertically to a base, creating a protective screen. Two entrances / exits allow indirect access, but the full interior (including seating) is only truly visible once inside the environment, creating a secret world for its occupants. Wind and the movement and interaction of those inside the installation causes the rebar to oscillate and collide, creating an almost constant metallic rustle; a sound field becomes an audible landmark and a sonic envelope for its inhabitants.

By Invitation:

In the Light of the Kudluk, by: Tanya Tagaq, from Nunavut, Canada

Four story telling shelters constructed of snow formed with snow piled against four curiously shaped structures. These structures will be removed when the snow is hard enough to support itself, leaving behind an impression of a creature. As spring arrives the shelters will melt into the river, leaving no trace of their existence but the memories created within them.

The design of each shelter is a collaborative effort between Tanya Tagaq and Sputnik Architecture in an effort to explore the traditions of Canada’s northern peoples and the manner in which art helps to define our understanding of those traditions.


Basket, by: Faculty of Architecture Partner Program, from Manitoba, Canada

Basket hut weaves together concepts of warmth and community. Using these principles along with low-tech energy solutions, Basket utilizes an innovative paneling system. These panels, known as Thermo-Tec, are both structural and heavily insulated. Masking these panels is a façade of intertwined ropes that give the structure a lightness and transparency that betray its thick walls. The façade becomes an interactive and playful element allowing skaters and passersby to hang winter accessories within its entwined filaments. This allows it to become a growing repository for the lost and found mittens and gloves of Winnipeg. Enveloping warmth is created as the winter and subsequent seasons progress.

A key design strategy and generator of form is a large south-facing window on the hut. The orientation of the window to an appropriate winter angle of the sun optimizes the solar gain to create a comfortable space. Penetrating solar energy is absorbed and radiated by a thermal mass in the form of communal seating. Utilizing this construction technique provides an effective form of passive energy gain. Supplementing the main passive system with a more active system further supports the aim of Basket as being a 'warm' warming hut. The active system, also rooted in sustainable practice, consists of interior lighting powered by a photovoltaic panel. This system adds to the sense of warmth through both light and heat. The large thermal mass inside the hut is central and communal, encouraging people to congregate and interact with each other while seeking refuge from the cold.

Project Lead by: Mark Pauls, Michael Robertson, Dr. Mohamad Araji
Group Members: Ting Ting Ng, Alyssa Magas, Brennan Fedak, Sum Yu Lee, Kassandra Swan, Tyler Jones, Mamie Griffiths

Fabrigami, by: Faculty of Architecture, from Manitoba, Canada

The 2016 Faculty of Architecture Warming Hut for the University of Manitoba is a multi-disciplinary research project that seeks to explore the potential use of the built and natural environment to shape a temporary structure for the frozen river trail of the Forks in Winnipeg. This project explores how the digital tools of parametric design can support methods for developing physical parametric construction techniques. Using the strength of high-tensioned cables a folded fabric structure is formed based on the principles of ancient origami techniques. Once shaped, the river water is pumped out and sprayed onto the fabric to create a stiff ice skin, creating a temporary structure out of the extreme climate and site of the beautiful river trail at the Forks.

The team of this project, led by Associate Professor Lancelot Coar (Department of Architecture), Instructor Kim Wiese (Environmental Design + FABLab) and Jason Hare (FABLab), and includes the participation of students from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba as well as Assistant Professor Caitlin Mueller from the Digital Structures Research Group at MIT, and Professor Lars De Laet with æLab at Vrije University.
U of M Students include: Brendan Dyck, Cameron Cummings, Janelle Harper, Collin Lamoureux, Mateo Linares, Katryna Lipinsky, Stephen Oberlin, Scott Shanks, Erica Ulrich, Thea Pedersen, Daryl Randa, Evan Shellenberg, Francis Garcia, Benjamine Bosiak, Melissa Tssessaze, Zoé Lebel

Frame, by RAW:almond Design Winners: Et Cetera Projects , from Manitoba, Canada

The design creates a cinematic experience of the event of dining on the river. The approach gives one a glimpse into the kitchen, dining area, and elements of the site before arriving at the dinner itself, with the preparation of the meal being the climatic frame of the dining narrative. The plan radiates from a central point and is oriented to pull the visitor into the riverbank landscape as they move toward the entrance. The structure transforms from a horizontal frame on one end to a vertical frame on the other, gradually compressing the space of the interior towards the dining end. The structure sits above the ice and a wood floor projects from a flap opening to announce the entrance. The entry space is a tall waiting room that acts as a buffer between the harshness of the exterior climate and the warmth of the dining environment. One moves along the exterior toward the entrance and then turns back on oneself to return along the length of the structure on the interior. Where one sits to dine, the structure is simple and a sort of blank canvas. One’s attention is fixed on the meal and the company of friends and neighbours, while simultaneously being immersed in the movement and sounds of the dinner preparation.


It is estimated the huts will be built in early January on site (weather pending) and brought down to the Red River Mutual Trail shortly after.  For more information please go to

Ricker Mercer visits The Forks, drives our Olympic Ice Machine, learns all about Warming Huts, and the Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail.  Watch it all here: