Roadbuilding | Steel

December 23, 2013

Warming hut design winners announced


The Nuzzles warming hut has a heated, lit core, encompassed by a multitude of insulated appendages. It will be constructed on the Forks Rivertrail along the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg.

Three winning designs have been announced for Winnipeg's 2014 Warming Huts Competition.

A duo of Vancouver architects, along with an artist from Alberta, combined to create one winning design.

Two Toronto architecture firms, Raw Design Inc. and Workshop Architecture Inc., were the other winning entries.

There was no theme for this year’s event, which produced a diverse set of winning huts.

The winners were chosen from a field of more than 190 entries from around the world in the Warming Huts v.2014: An Art + Architecture competition.

Architects Kate Busby with Shape Architecture and Michael Thicke with Public Architecture + Communication, along with visual artist Bella Totino of Totino Busby Design in St. Albert, Alberta, created Windshield.

The five-metre-tall wind vane counters prevailing winds to protect its occupants.

The vertical shelter is supported on a circular rotating steel base.

“Conceptually, our team was interested in designing a structure that would move with the wind,” Busby said.

“Designing our first kinetic structure has been exciting, but a somewhat daunting experience.”

Its modern aluminum frame and fabric skin are based on the tectonics of the early birch-bark canoes that would travel down the Assiniboine in the summer months.

The light frame allows the shelter to adapt to changing wind patterns by rotating to protect its users from exposure to the elements.

Fixed to the centre of the circular base is a modified outdoor heat column.

“We are thrilled to be one of the three winning submissions out of more than 190 entries. We are very proud of our Alberta-BC team in what has become a well-known and respected annual design competition not only in Canada, but worldwide,” said Busby.

“Following our selection as a winning entry, our team prepared working drawings using BIM (Building Information Modeling) application Autodesk Revit. It’s been a compelling experience to work with the latest technologies in designing a modern interpretation of shelter based on very age-old construction techniques.

“Our client, the Forks, has been very enthusiastic and helpful, as has been the competition organizer, Sputnik Architecture in Winnipeg.”

In its entry, entitled Nuzzles, Raw envisages a series of glowing mounds on the frozen river landscape, “each creating immersive layers of light, warmth and interaction.” Inspired by the insulating properties of fur, Nuzzles brings “a unique, engaging experience” to the visitors of the Assiniboine River.

Moving away from the “introverted” enclosure, Nuzzles exhibits a heated, lit core, encompassed by a multitude of insulated appendages which allow users to nestle into the structure.

Constructed from a geodesic lattice of hollow aluminum tubing and an outer layer of foam bristles (pool noodles), Nuzzles provides an inner layer of still air in order to increase heat capacity.

Occupants are encouraged to “playfully interact” with bristles in order to sculpt informal seating or standing space as well as change the lighting dispersions of the glowing structure.

Workshop Architecture’s Red Blanket shelter is intended as a visual marker against the surrounding white winter palette.

It will be seen by skaters far in the distance, first as a red speck.

“Then, as you skate closer, you will see the dense fabric panels swaying under heavy winds.”

The wall of thick felt will be angled to protect skaters from the prevailing wind and provide a sunny spot.

Each of the 10 panels is sized to be the width and length of a single roll of bright red felted wool.

A rod will be affixed at each panel’s top end and hung in two parallel lines from the underside of one of the bridges crossing the Assiniboine or Red River.

The bottom ends of these “monumental-scaled” panels will act as a warm blanket for people to wrap themselves in, one or two at a time.

Simple wooden benches will be slid into place by skaters as required to create different groupings from a single person lacing up his or her skates to a small group “gathering to share hot cocoa.”

The huts are currently under construction in Winnipeg and will be completed in late January.

They are scheduled to be installed along the Forks Rivertrail on the Assiniboine River, the world’s longest skating trail, between the end of January and the beginning of March 2014.

We look forward to seeing the three huts make their way on to the ice...” Busby said.

The budget for the construction and creation of each hut is $16,500.

This includes a $3,500 designers’ honorarium. The competition is endorsed by the Manitoba Association of Architects.

with files from Bradley Fehr

Windshield is a five-metre-tall wind vane that counters prevailing winds to protect its occupants.

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These projects have been selected from 500 projects with a total value of $2,096,783,397 that Reed Construction Data Building Reports reported on Tuesday.


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