Five winners have been announced in the 2010/11 edition of the River Trail at the Forks warming huts competition.
Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Exposition on Ice was first launched last year to allow users of the Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail near Winnipeg, Canada to engage with different pieces of art and architecture. In 2009/10, five warming huts were created and placed on the Assiniboine River between The Forks and the Osborne Street bridge. An estimated 450,000 ice skaters used the trail during the six weeks the skating trail was open in 2010.
In 2010/11, the international competition picked three winning huts, as well as one entry by a team of students from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, and one more entry by a renowned architect for design and construction in this winter season.
Jellyfish... wait for it!
Patkau Architects (Vancouver, Canada)
Noa Biran, Roy Talmon (Tel Aviv, Israel)
Our architectural doing goes side-by-side with projects involving photography, dance, video art and installations. In both our design process and artistic creations we see platforms for expressing our political, cultural, social and ecological beliefs. Besides working as architects in architecture firms which specialize in cultural and public projects, we also work together on private houses, interior design and installations. Recently, we presented a project at the Bat Yam International Biennale of Landscape Urbanism, which dealt with the concept of construction site fences, requisitioning the fences in terms of private vs. public, transparency and temporality.
Starting a fire is the most elementary act of warming. WOODPILE hut serves as a place for that act, while transforming it into its construction material: the hut’s walls are constructed as a spatial metal frame which contains firewood. Using the firewood through time constantly changes the hut’s appearance.
As winter begins and firewood is stacked, the woodpile’s level is at its maximum. This closes the hut from its surroundings and isolates its inner space from the winter cold. Looking through the cracks between the wood, one can see the campfire inside.
As spring approaches, the woodpile’s level is lower and the hut’s interior space is gradually revealed and exposed to the outside. At summertime the hut’s naked construction could also serve as a shaded pavilion along the river.
Tri Nguyen, Jayne Chu, Ben Olschner, Jakob Seyboth (New York, USA)
The team has been gathered by Tri Nguyen who has a background in Architecture and Chemical Engineering. In addition to his education at Oklahoma State University, he has collaborated with architects from Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, PLT Design, Elliot & Associate Architects, WDG Architects, Konyk, and Utopus Studio. His mentors during the conception of the Ha(y) ven were Jayne Chu, Ben Olschner, and Jakob Seyboth. As an artist, Jayne has a portfolio that includes works in oil paintings, film, literature, graphic design, and works in the nonprofit realm. As a masters graduate of Edinburgh University, Ben Olschner has been leading designs at Herzog & De Meuron, participating in freelance work with renderings and publishing, and been involved in educating young minds at the universities. Jakob Seyboth, a student of the masters program at ETH Zurich has collaborated with Herzog & De Meuron, Atelier Jean Nouvel, Xpace, and Acebo x Alonso in designs and competitions; some of which have won awards.
The conception of the design proposal emerged from a simple organic material having a strong association and history with the winter season. Hay is commonly used both as feedstock and as a natural insulation in barns/stables where it is stored and increasingly more commonly specified on the innovative side of modern architecture. The warming hut’s basic building unit, the hay bale, is quite versatile since the advancement of recent balers to which blocks of different shapes, sizes, and densities can be produced. With the wide availability of the renewable resource and its low cost, the team made the conclusion that the vernacular material will allow a large iconic structure to be erected. With the aids of pins, wiring and netting, the proposal’s structural soundness can be easily achieved to function as a load bearing facility which can resist high-wind loads. The tower will easily rise as a landmark along the Assiniboine River and provide a unique shelter for visitors with a breathtaking skylight.
Under the Covers
Robert B. Trempe Jr. (Philadelphia, USA)
“Under the Covers” is a perfect example of this process. The conceptual design comes from the very simple idea of splitting and peeling a pre-existing fabric. Its design development makes use of a technique in computational modeling that uses the act of “peeling” as logic towards its formal articulation. The construction technique then makes use of the same computational modeling system for the quick and precise generation of drafted construction documents. Changes in the design process can be reflected in these documents quickly and precisely without losing the integrity of the original concept.
Professor Lancelot Coar, University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture Students (Winnipeg, Canada)
The extreme Manitoba climate makes the Winnipeg Warming Hut Exposition possible. At the same time this unique weather offers us an opportunity to produce a truly site-/climate-specific architecture to celebrate the river walk experience. Professor Lancelot Coar working with students from the Department of Architecture at the University of Manitoba will attempt to do this by constructing an ephemeral refuge made primarily from the elements of the river walk itself. By first setting up a lightweight compressive framing system, this warming hut will be skinned with a flexible fabric membrane that will cover the structure. After drilling a hole into the ice, the river water will be pumped out and sprayed onto the skin, freezing it and creating a stiffened body on the skeleton it covers. The fabric will become a firm, translucent shell that will illuminate the space within and offer protection from the snow and wind.
Throughout its life, the semi-transparent thin-shelled structure will become a venue for various arts programming that will engage visitors to the hut during the day and at night. In conjunction with several artists from Winnipeg, the hut will offer a temporary site for performances by storytellers, a short film series projected on the structure itself, and many other events.
All Images via Warming Huts