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Competition: Warming Huts 2019, Winnipeg

The Forks Foundation has once again launched its annual international contest for a series of $16,500 (CAN) outdoor art installations in Winnipeg, Canada (Deadline: 2 October)

Open to all architects, landscape architects, designers and students – the open anonymous competition seeks ‘creative and poetic’ proposals for temporary winter warming huts or art installations suitable for the Manitoba city’s cold winter.

The top three teams will see their designs constructed on prefabricated skids and anchored on ice at the meeting of the Red River and Assiniboine River along the Red River Mutual Trail in an area known as the Forks early next year.

Golden Bison -- Warming Huts 2018 winner

Golden Bison – Warming Huts 2018 winner

Source: Image by Luca Roncoroni

Golden Bison – Warming Huts 2018 winner

According to the brief: ‘The Forks Renewal Corporation will provide construction teams, directed by a project manager hired by The Forks to construct and fabricate the winning projects. Winning teams will be invited to Winnipeg help complete their projects and install their project on the Red River Mutual Trail.

‘Several days of activities will be planned around the celebration of the new huts with the design and construction teams. These events include speaking engagements, to both members of the public and students at the University of Manitoba School of Architecture, a game of shinny hockey at the Forks against local architects, a field trip to Lake Winnipeg, and a party hosted by the Forks celebrating the winning teams.’

Winnipeg – which means ‘muddy water’ in Cree – has been an important trading centre for thousands of years and is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to the West’ due to its many railroad connections.

Formerly an ancient meeting place for aboriginal people, the Forks has now become an important tourist destination receiving four million visitors every year. When frozen over in the winter, the nearby river is also used as an alternative route into downtown Winnipeg by users of bikes, skates and skis.

Founded 13 years ago, the Forks Foundation is a local charity working to promote heritage, culture, arts, recreation and other activities in the 5.5ha waterfront area which is close to the Winnipeg Railway Museum and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The annual competition – launched in 2009 and supported by Peter Hargreaves of local firm Sputnik Architecture – aims to transform the frozen river surface next to the 6,000 years old meeting place into a new architectural focal point for the city.

RAW:Almond pavilion by OS31

RAW:Almond pavilion by OS31

Source: Image by Emily Patrician

RAW:Almond pavilion by OS31

Previous winners included an installation called Stackhouse by London sculptor Anish Kapoor, Open Border by Joyce de Grauw and Paul van der Berg from Rotterdam and UK-based OS31, whose pop-up restaurant hosted Winnipeg’s RAW:Almond outdoor fine-dining festival.

Proposals are encouraged to consider solar radiation, wind chill, and the constantly shifting landscape of the snow-covered river where the ice can thicken to one metre deep.

Participating multidisciplinary teams must possess a ‘proven portfolio of design work’ and include an artist and a member of a recognised architectural association.

Digital submissions should include four A4 pages of team information and two A3 boards outlining the conceptual proposal. Three winning teams – set to be announced on 2 November – will receive $3,500 and be invited to develop technical drawings for the construction process.

A budget of $7,500 is available for materials; $4,000 for labour costs; and $1,500 for construction management which will be arranged by the Forks Foundation. A further $1,000 is available for each team’s accommodation expenses and $2,500 for airfares.

The jury will select the winning designs based on their creativity in use of materials, providing shelter, poetics of assembly and form, integration with the landscape, and ease of construction.

Results are set to be announced in early November, with winning designs invited to start pre-construction in November and install their work at the end of January. The Forks Renewal Corporation will provide a construction team and project manager for each structure.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 2pm local time (CST) on 2 October

Fee

There is no entry fee

Contact details

Tel: 01 - 204 415 3906

Email: peter@sputnikarchitecture.com

View the competition website for more information

Golden Bison case study: Q&A with David Alberto Arroyo Tafolla

The winner of last year’s contest discusses lessons learned designing a winter installation for The Forks in Winnipeg

David Alberto Arroyo Tafolla

David Alberto Arroyo Tafolla

David Alberto Arroyo Tafolla

How did your contest-winning project transform The Forks in Winnipeg during the winter?

During the visit to the area of The Forks, while installing the finished Golden Bison, people began to approach interested, questioning how I had come to that final design. I told them that my goal was to achieve an unmistakable icon for the city, fusing form and colour of two elements of regional identity, resulting in a familiar aesthetic for any inhabitant of the area and attractive to tourists. It was a great experience to observe from a distance how people approached with some caution, somewhat intimidated by the presence of the Golden Bison, and discovered that there was an interior, which was there to protect them, to recover their breath and motivation to continue with their walking or skating on the frozen river.

Golden Bison -- Warming Huts 2018 winner

Golden Bison – Warming Huts 2018 winner

Source: Image by Joshua Cook

Golden Bison – Warming Huts 2018 winner

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

The elements used in the design were the shape of the symbolic bison of the province of Manitoba and the colour of the sculpture Eternal Youth - Golden Boy, located in the dome of the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg. Both elements were combined by a composition formed by cubes, the basic architectural volume, which in turn can be appreciated as a pixelated element, referencing the digital era in which we find ourselves.

In technical terms, the hut is supported by a steel structure that solves the gap between the legs and the front cantilever. This structure is cladded on the inside with plywood that provides a cosy atmosphere and on the outside by recycled polystyrene foam, sprayed with a thermoplastic polymer lining that gives great resistance to atmospheric and human elements, and finally painted in gold.

Golden Bison -- Warming Huts 2018 winner

Golden Bison — Warming Huts 2018 winner

Source: Image by Joshua Cook

Golden Bison — Warming Huts 2018 winner

What advice would you have to contest participants on participating in this year’s Warming Huts contest?

For the participants in this challenge, I would recommend in-depth study of the site, starting from the early history that led to the area becoming an important meeting point, which continues to perform vital functions for the life of the region. It will be crucial for the design to consider the extreme climate of Winnipeg and take the necessary considerations for the shelter regarding windchill and snowfall. Analysing factors such as these, their design will result in a functional and attractive element with which the population and tourism can feel identified and protected.

Golden Bison -- Warming Huts 2018 winner

Golden Bison – Warming Huts 2018 winner

Source: Image by Joshua Cook

Golden Bison – Warming Huts 2018 winner

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