Down, Set… HUT! Ice Capades break Grey Cup Fever

With the Grey Cup buzz shifting from a roar to a gentle headache, Winnipeggers can turn their attention to an upcoming ice capade – also known as the annual Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice.

Warming Huts is an open competition held annually at the Forks since 2009.  Originally pitched by professors at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture, the competition is endorsed by the Manitoba Association of Architects and supported by the Canadian Council for the Arts.

The competition is a local news darling but also draws international attention, including a New York Times article last year.  Our popularity is paying off.  This year saw more than 160 entries submitted from countries around the world, including Estonia, Iran, India and Bangladesh.

A top-notch blind jury comprised of Winnipeg art and architecture experts judged all of the submissions and, just last week, selected the winning designs that “push the envelope of design, craft and art”.

And the winners are…

FIRST PLACE ♥ Temple by Kirill Bair and Daria Lisitsyna (Moscow, Russia)

Tall and topical, Temple is a greek temple made from oil drums and recycled material that echoes the buzz and clicks of its pipes and parts as they knock against themselves in the winter breeze.  Its cool, almost frigid, description — “form without content, a place of worship connected to nothing but the wind” — fits wonderfully with the desolate breezes winding along our beautiful river terrain.

SECOND PLACE ♥ Shelterbelt by Robert B. Trempe Jr. (Nebraska, USA)

Shelterbelt is an homage to the prairie winter, using steel rebar to mirror the form and movement of the trees and tall grasses that characterize a winter landscape.

Wind and visitors will stir the rebar and cause it to collide, mimicking the rustle of movement through winter-abandoned fields and forests.


THIRD PLACE ♥ Ice Maze by Andreas Mede (California, USA)

California may not know winter, but they know how to have a good time.  Ice Maze is focused on the family, keeping kids busy and entertained as they skate and slide around its ice block walls and giving parents a five minute reprieve to sip their coffee under prairie blue skies.


OTHER selections included…

♥ Basket by Faculty of Architecture Partner Program (Winnipeg, MB)

The University of Manitoba Architecture Partner Program puts the “warm” in “warming huts”, using sustainable heat paneling, a large south-facing window, photo voltaic lighting and insulation of its intertwined rope walls.


Basket lets you climb in and get carried away — with a design that looks like it sounds and a facade that playfully encourages visitors to use its walls for lost mittens and other winter accessories found along the Red River Mutual Trail.


Fabrigami by University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture (Winnipeg, MB)

Put simply, this design is a giant fabric origami structure covered in a thin skin of ice.  What makes this design special is that it directly participates with Winnipeg’s local landscape and climate — using river water to create the ice coat and having its final shape depend on how quickly the water freezes.

FabrigamiThe result is an interesting combination of an ancient Japanese art with a distinctly local feel.


In the Light of the Kudluk by Sputnik Architecture and Tanya Tagaq (WInnipeg, mb)

Local firm Sputnik Architecture paired up with Nunavut throat singer and 2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner Tanya Tugaq to create In the Light of the Kudluk.  The design includes four snow shelters surrounded by, you guessed it, more snow.  TanyaOnce the snow hardens, the structures will be removed leaving an impression of a creature from the traditions of Canada’s Northern people.  The spring thaw will later return the entire project from whence it came.

♥ Frame by RAW: Almond and Et Cetera Projects (Winnipeg, MB)

Frame is the design for the much-loved, annual outdoor Framepop-up dining hut* that combines the creativity of Mandel Hitzer (Deer + Almond), Joe Kalturnyk and Winnipeg’s Et Cetera Projects. Frame pulls visitors into the riverbank landscape as they move toward the entrance, letting them catch a glimpse into the kitchen, dining area, and other elements of the site while settling in to enjoy a warm meal amongst the laughs of their neighbours and the sounds of dinner being prepared.  Don’t miss it.  Tickets go on sale soon!


Competition winners travel to Winnipeg to begin construction on their warming hut at the end of January.  Completed warming huts are then brought out to the frozen Red River Mutual Trail for visitors to enjoy throughout the winter season.

Down, Set… HUT! Ice Capades break Grey Cup Fever

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