The Warming Huts competition entices contestants to raise the creative bar by designing original shelters and installations along the Red River Mutual trail, the world's longest naturally frozen skating trail located in Winnipeg, Canada. 

This year's international contest saw three winning teams; two in the "Shelter" part of the competition, and the other in the "Installation" category. The designs will be constructed in January for the public to enjoy, reminding people about the importance of art and architecture in the public sphere.

Here are this year's winners:

Installation Winner: Recycling Words - Design by KANVA
Warming Huts Installation Winner: Recycling Words - Design by KANVA

From the designers:

Recycling Words is an interactive art installation that assembles everyday objects and words to create a playful river narrative. Drawing reference to the physical and vocal exchanges that historically flocked the Red and Assiniboine rivers on canoe, Recycling Words offers a new cultural and social means of gathering along the Red River Mutual Trail.

The installation is composed of fifty recycled chairs and fifty pairs of recycled skis that are fastened together using metal connectors. Each unit is painted neon-pink and stenciled with a unique word along its back. Diffused across the length of the Red River Mutual Trail, Recycling Words creates a visual explosion and recognizable marker for the various access points of the Assiniboine and Red rivers.

The chair-ski combo invites the user to push, pull, sit or glide in tandem or solo, while also setting into motion other chair activities such as musical chairs, or learning how to skate. The fifty words assigned to each chair will be mindfully selected by a local art historian to enable users to physically construct improvised phrases or reconstruct narratives or memories of Winnipeg based on the infamous fridge magnet game. Using words and materials of the place, Recycling Words offers a sustainable art installation that allows users to reconstruct old stories and make new memories along Winnipeg’s Red River Mutual Trail this winter. KANVA looks forward to the opportunity of participating in this collaborative endeavor.

Shelter Winner: The Hole Idea - Design by Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited
Warming Huts Shelter Winner: The Hole Idea - Design by Weiss Architecture & Urbanism Limited

From the designers:

The portable hole - first developed by Prof. Calvin Q. Calculus in the 1955 Looney Tunes animation, “The Hole Thing” and later sold by the Acme Company - has a troubled history. Almost right from inception, the ominous, mobile void was put to use for evil purposes - first as an effective enabler for a vicious crime spree and later as a means to capture the American desert fowl Geococcyx californianus or as it is commonly known as, “the Roadrunner”. It is important to note that the later use always ended up with the direct opposite result than that of the intended; which is likely why the portable hole is no longer commercially available. This proposal takes as a starting point the portable hole, and by utilizing modern paint technologies, adds color. The resultant 1’-6” diameter holes - which can be located anywhere along the snowy banks of the Assiniboine or Red River – are resistant to being co-opted by evil forces (including the greyness of soul-sucking foul weather) due to the sheer cheeriness of the palette of introduced color. Further, a large, bright and yellow 10’ diameter hole is horizontally located in a 35’ long snow drift and provides skaters a warm and sheltering burrow in the snowy river bank. Since they have an inside and outside, the holes also furnish the shelter with an abundance of light and sky views.

Shelter Winner: This Big - Design by Tina Soli and Luca Roncoroni
Warming Huts Shelter Winner: This Big - Design by Tina Soli and Luca Roncoroni

From the designers:

Eric drills a small hole in the ice. He unfolds his chair and sits down. He pours a cup of hot coffee, and he sinks a bait in the deep, dark water. He waits. He drinks some more coffee. He waits. Finally, Eric gets a fish so big that it doesn’t make it through the hole. He cuts the line and he goes home with a story to tell … “It was this big!”

The story is a good one, the fish gets bigger by the day, and the myth grows. Somebody is impressed, somebody is curious, somebody is laughing. But one day the fish wants to tell the story itself, the fish wants its 15 minutes of fame … That day is today. No more story telling. No more myth.

THIS BIG is the connection between two worlds: under and over the ice. We could say it is a “semantic installation” or a “social anthropological statement”, but it is actually an ice sculpture, a big toy.

Check out the competition’s previous winners here.

Some of this year's other entries:

Raw:almond - Design by RAW:Gallery
Warming Huts Raw:almond - Design by RAW:Gallery

The Hybrid Hut - Design by Rojkind Arquitectos
Warming Huts The Hybrid Hut - Design by Rojkind Arquitectos