Warming Huts v.2024: Winning Designs Unveiled!

Posted on Nov 23, 2023 by The Forks Market

As the temperatures start to drop, and more snow falls, we begin looking ahead to the exciting winter season here at The Forks, including the annual addition of new warming huts. The Warming Huts v.2024: An Arts + Architecture Competition on Ice received over 200 submissions from around the world. Visitors and guests at The Forks can expect to see six new unique designs join old favourites out on the Nestaweya River Trial presented by the Winnipeg Foundation this winter. 

“At the heart of everything we do here at The Forks is community, and our annual Warming Huts competition is just that,” says Sara Stasiuk, CEO of The Forks North Portage. “These huts are designed and built by people for people. We put them down on the river trail to be explored, admired, and enjoyed by anyone and everyone.”

Each and every warming hut submission is reviewed anonymously by a jury made up of founding members, community jurors, and a student guest juror. A full day is spent reviewing the different designs and selecting the winners.

This year’s official competition winners are Murky Waters designed by Christopher Loofs, Jordan Loofs, and Kaci Marshall (Oklahoma City, USA); Spinning Dim Sum by Verena Nelles Kempf (Zurich, Switzerland) and Ilga Nelles (Hamburg, Germany); and Sublimation designed by Francisco Silva and Barbara Stallone (Paris, France) and Alexander Pollard (London, England).

“Each year, the submissions we receive inspire us, and this year is no different,” says Stasiuk. “This year’s winning huts are all unique, both in design and in materials. Each with its own story to tell."

Invited Artist/Architect huts have long been a highlight of the Warming Huts season, with past guest architects including Anish Kapoor and Frank Gehry, and guest artists including Tanya Tagaq, Terje Isungset, Royal Canoe, and most recently, Wanda Koop and Thom Fougere.   

This year’s Invited Artist team is no stranger to Manitoba, Winnipeg, and even The Forks. Bringing us their hut, Circling Above Us, is father and son team from Peguis First Nation, Wayne and Jordan Stranger. Circling Above Us is inspired by the eagle, and the meaning the bird has had for the Stranger family.  

"We selected the eagle as our warming hut to offer the community a safe place with good energy," says Jordan Stranger, artist and owner of Totem Doodem. "The eagle symbolizes love and reminds us that our ancestors are always close."

"The eagle's wings will be crafted from cedar," says Wayne Stranger, artist and founder of Stranger Bronzeworks. "When working with sacred medicines, we must show our respect for it. Once we're done using the cedar for the structure, we'll share it with our community so it can continue its healing in other forms."

Building upon the great success and experience of the inaugural school program from last year, the call again went out to all schools in Manitoba to enter the competition this year. The jury had several great submissions to choose from and selected a group of elementary students from École St. Avila School with their hut, Amisk, as this year’s winner.

“The students agreed that their warming hut needed to acknowledge and educate about Turtle Island, Treaty 1, and the importance of The Forks,” says École St. Avila School Teacher Librarian, Tytanya Fillion. “We want the project to be accessible to all ages, and we are looking to create a hut where families can enter, warm up, and self-educate. When it was announced that Amisk was chosen, everyone cheered, and from that day we’ve all been a part of team Amisk.”

The University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture joins the competition as well with Ice Henge, a wintery take on Stonehenge.

“The Faculty of Architecture is excited to participate in the warming huts competition and to support Winnipeg’s robust culture of art and design,” says Mimi Locher, Dean, Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. “This year’s project, “Ice Henge,” is inspired by the spirit of disco and the monumentality of Stonehenge. Ice forms emerging from the frozen river will create a space of community through play, wonder, and reflection.” 

Build Week for Warming Huts v.2024 will take place at the end of January, with the winning teams all gathering in Winnipeg to bring their designs to life and connect with each other as well as the community.

The six new huts will be placed on both the Nestaweya River Trail presented by the Winnipeg Foundation and in the Arctic Glacier Winter Park along with returning huts from years past.


Warming Huts Competition Winners:


Murky Waters

By Christopher Loofs, Jordan Loofs, and Kaci Marshall

Oklahoma City, USA 

Resting on the ice sits a fish out of water. Pops of black contrast the freshly fallen snow, inviting all to investigate. They are greeted by the long face of the catfish, its eyes blank and open, allowing light into the skull’s interior. Other visitors already sit inside on a long bench, catching their breath and retying skates away from the biting winds. Past the opening extends a series of ribs connected by a thick rope spine. At its end sits a boney tail, its base merged into another bench. The presence of the catfish brought to the river surface seeks to not only shelter visitors from the wind but also provide a place to reflect on the ecologies humans interact with throughout our different cultures and contexts.


Spinning Dim Sum

By Verena Nelles Kempf and Ilga Nelles

Zurich, Switzerland and Hamburg, Germany

Three small felt capsules, each having a small sky opening, provide a cozy hide out for visitors.

Mounted on a sliding plate they are waiting to be turned and turned -

...a game, a shelter, a meeting place.

The 5 strips that overlap to form a dim-sum-like shape are loosely linked in a way, that the construction remains flexible and each gap can be stretched to open up as an entrance.

A tightrope walk between fashion and architecture.



By Francisco Silva, Barbara Stallone, and Alexander Pollard

Paris, France and London, England

The pavilion stands as a beacon in nature, transcending its surroundings. In symbiotic harmony with the environment, it responds dynamically to atmospheric and climatic shifts through its form and materiality. A single structural pole supports a pleated recycled fishing net skirt, embodying an intrinsic, distilled beauty. As snow falls, gusts blow, and temperatures fluctuate, the pavilion adapts dynamically, its transparent walls gradually transforming into ice, offering a shelter for contemplation and protection. Sunlight streams in through an oculus, casting warm light within. Throughout the season, water droplets accumulate, freezing into stunning wind-sculpted formations. With the arrival of spring, as the ice melts, the pavilion's fabric dances with the wind, while shadows accentuate the embodied form. These dynamic responses to climate create a unique experience with each visit. This iconic structure symbolizes Winnipeg's deep connection to its environment, celebrating life between contemporaneity and the forces of nature in perfect harmony.


Invited Artist v.2024


Circling Above Us

By Wayne and Jordan Stranger

Winnipeg and Peguis First Nation, Manitoba 

The Eagle signifies warmth and comfort. With the use of the sacred medicine Cedar covering the animal, it creates a safe space with good energy, serving as a reminder of the effect of our environment. In many miraculous appearances, eagles have appeared during tough times to remind us we are loved, and in good times to remind us our ancestors are always with us. Through this warming hut we hope to bring the warmth and comfort the eagle has always brought to our family throughout the years.


School Program Winner:


Amisk (meaning: “Castor” or “Beaver” in Cree)

By Staff: Tytanya Fillion

Students: Nolan, Tarik, Maksim, Jesse, Jack, Justin, Kevin

École St. Avila School, Winnipeg, Manitoba 

Winter can be very long for those who do not like the cold. The Forks and especially the river trails are a fun reason to get families out for a walk or go for a skate. We hope that Amisk will keep families warm as they skate and walk along the river trails.

It is important that we all take the time to educate ourselves about the true history of Turtle Island. To honour the seven sacred teachings and the Treaty 1 land which the Forks is built, we want to share Amisk (Cree for Castor/ Beaver). The Beaver represents wisdom. Amisk is a great representative for the Forks because there was once a lot of Beavers along the banks of the forks. The beaver is known as the hardest working animal in the world.  

The Voyageurs first came to Turtle Island to hunt Beaver pelts. Beaver pelts were used as a form of trading currency. Even today the Beaver is still on the nickel to remind us of its importance.

We hope families go inside Amisk to warm up and learn about Turtle Island and the history of trade between the Voyageurs and the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Lakota peoples of Treaty 1 land.

The beaver represents wisdom. We want Amisk to help educate. Inside Amisk, we will have a sacred circle carpet with a big basket of books written and illustrated by Indigenous Peoples of Manitoba. We are making a sign with 8 interesting facts about Beavers. The sign will be written in French, English, Cree and Braille. There will also be a bulletin board where visitors can leave some words of wisdom to share with others.

Like the Beaver teaching, we know that with hard work and dedication comes knowledge. We are excited to be a part of this project. We have already learned so much from this and are excited to continue to learn.


University of Manitoba:


Ice Henge

By The Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba 

For decades, we have been moving towards a world of hyper connectivity, while simultaneously having more disingenuous interactions with people and spaces. The Faculty of Architecture’s v.2024 Warming Hut seeks to counter this trend by creating an intervention that combines warmth and play. Enhancing the existing ice and snow environment, ICE HENGE carves as pace for true reflection and communal connection. Frozen forms extend from the icy expanse, welcoming outsiders into a core of shared experiences. Our vision orchestrates a realm of play, wonder, and amazement—a space—aglow at night, radiant by day, that sings to its visitors. Inspired by the spirit of disco andt he monumentality of Stonehenge, ICE HENGE becomes a landmark embodying a juxtaposition of both notoriety and temporality, wonder and certainty—a new age landmark for n

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