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Competition: Toronto Winter Stations 2018

An international design competition has been launched for a series of $10,000 CAD temporary winter installations on Toronto’s beaches (Deadline: 3 November)

Open to artists, designers, architects and landscape architects, the fourth annual ‘Winter Stations’ contest seeks proposals for temporary structures to entice visitors to the area during winter.

The six winning designs will be built between 19 February and 1 April 2018 on the Balmy, Kew and Ashbridges Bay beaches within The Beaches district of the Ontario capital. Winning schemes will be attached to existing lifeguard stands on the beaches and will be expected to withstand harsh weather and potential night-time vandalism.

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

Source: Image by Steven Evans Photography

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

According to the brief: ‘This year’s WinterStations theme, RIOT, is a call to artists and designers to act out. Your designs may be an active resistance expressed through a riot of colour, form and material. You may wish to speak to the political, cultural or environmental climate.

‘You may rail against passive, placid art and design. You may, in a gesture of catharsis, unleash your inner turmoil. But please do remember, this exhibition is first and foremost a project to promote creativity and joy - basic, shared human qualities that bring us together and are needed now more than ever.’

Stretching from Victoria Park Avenue to Coxwell Avenue, the district bordering Lake Ontario is popular with tourists, swimmers and volleyball players during the summer months but is less busy when cold weather arrives.

The structures, which must be able to withstand the rigours of the Canadian winter, will be fastened to existing metal lifeguard stands which are evenly spaced along the waterfronts. Proposals may be any size but must be feasible within the $10,000 CAD construction budget which covers materials, labour and any taxes.

Toronto

Toronto

Winter Stations contest site

Participants should consider whether their installation could be relocated or its materials repurposed and recycled after the programme finishes. Applications should include concept designs along with a 150-word explanation and documents describing the team’s background and relevant design experience.

A shortlist of teams will be chosen by a jury that includes city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, Lisa Rochon of Friends of the Beach Parks, and Canadian architect and artist Paul Raff.

The winning teams – set to be announced on 15 December – will each be assigned a project manager and local construction crew by the competition organisers RAW Architects, Ferris + Associates and Curio.

A $3,500 honorarium and a $1,500 travel and accommodation bursary will also be available to selected winning teams.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 3 November

Contact details

Email: info@winterstations.com

Visit the competition website for more information

The Beacon case study: Q&A with João Araújo Sousa

The co-founder of João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura discusses lessons learned designing one of last year’s winning schemes

How did your Beacon project deliver an innovative installation to reanimate Toronto’s winter waterfront?

There was an important social message behind the Beacon project, as we were challenging the conventional concept of a donation spot and elevating it as a singular piece of urban furniture. Having that in mind, we saw the opportunity to create a strong vertical element capable of drawing people´s attention from a large distance, and successfully bringing them closer to the shoreline and into the heart of the Winter Stations initiative. The project was able to establish a strong connection with both the natural (the waterfront) and built environment (the Wastewater Treatment towers and Downtown Toronto in the distance) which is something that temporary urban installations often miss. In that sense, it materially merges with the landscape and is not an isolated piece of public art.

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

Source: Image by Steven Evans Photography

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The Beacon project was inspired by coastal lighthouses, both at a physical and metaphysical level. We tried to import this imagery into the project and, in the end, created an imperfect structure built out of time. Sustainability was of the essence, and the tower-like structure was clad in reclaimed, inexpensive wood. We tried to invest as little material and effort as possible in the construction, making the transportation and assembly processes very easy and leaving the prospect of an afterlife scenario.

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

Source: Image by Steven Evans Photography

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

What advice would you have to contest participants on participating in this year’s Winter Stations competition?

Temporary installations, unlike traditional permanent commissions, present an amazing space for creativity, without the constraints of time and regulations. They should remain diverse and free from any attempts to follow styles or doctrines and really focus on how to transport people to a strange and naïve world. From our point of view, this year’s theme, Rio, encourages exactly that kind of risks and disruption.

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

Source: Image by Steven Evans Photography

2017 winner: The Beacon by João Araújo Sousa & Joana Correia Silva Arquitectura

Q&A with Ted Merrick

The co-founder of Winter Stations and lead designer at Ferris + Associates discusses his ambitions for the contest

Why are your holding a fourth competition for Winter Stations installations on Toronto’s beaches?

Winter Stations has quickly become a highlight in Toronto’s winter-time event calendar for its ability to attract people to the east end beaches and unite designers and artists from all over the world. Canada is known for its cold winters so it is also a tongue-in-cheek celebration of this.

We are excited to be launching the fourth year of the competition and want to attract submissions from an even broader range of backgrounds and places than ever before.

Toronto

Toronto

Driftwood Throne by last year’s winner DM_Studio

What is your vision for the installations?

The overarching aim of Winter Stations is to use design to bring people together to enjoy Toronto’s beaches in the winter, so we will be looking for creative entries that approach the theme RIOT in a clever way. RIOT is a call for designers and artists to act out. Designs can be an active act of resistance expressed through a riot of colour, form or materials. Or submissions may speak to the political, cultural, or environmental climate. But each entry must come back to that central tenet of promoting creativity and joy in visitors.

The temporary installations must also work around the existing lifeguard stations on the beach and take account of the potential for extreme cold, ice and high visitor numbers. Also following the success of the past year’s theme of re-use, repurpose, and recycle we will also encourage proposals that evolve into future iterations – so some consideration of post-exhibition lifecycle will be favoured.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The competition is a fantastic opportunity for new and established artists, designers, architects and landscape architects from all around the world to get playful and flex their creative muscles.

Winning teams will be provided with an allowance for travel and accommodation to spend time in Toronto during the installation and the activities surrounding the opening. They will also have the opportunity to engage with visitors and meet with media to discuss their designs and ideas.

Toronto

Toronto

Sling Swing by last year’s winner WMB Studio

We also continue to offer the opportunity to take part to select local design and art institutions. This year, the opportunity is open to the University of Guelph, Ryerson University and the Ontario College of Art, with teams of students designing and fabricating installations for three lifeguard stands.

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects/designers be procured?

One of the best things about Winter Stations is how it has inspired other similar design competitions and creative endeavours. Last year we partnered with Toronto’s Waterfront BIA to create IceBreakers, a similar temporary public art exhibition to celebrate Toronto’s downtown waterfront area. We are also in talks with other cities about extending the Winter Stations concept to their waterfronts. There is a desire for more public art and design during the winter months and I think Winter Stations is a positive force to rally architects and designers to confront this creative brief.

Are there any other pop-up installation projects you have been impressed by?

Winter Stations was initially inspired by Winnipeg’s Warming Huts competition, but I think it has evolved beyond that to become a unique focal point in Toronto’s art and design calendar.

Toronto

Toronto

Sauna ice bath by FFLO