Location: Winnipeg, Canada
The competition called for the design of “warming huts” to be placed along a winter walking trail formed by the frozen Assiniboine river. The design is inspired by the morphology of the region’s agricultural architecture namely farm building clusters and grain elevators which characterise the rural prairie landscape. This terrain forms the backbone of the Western Canadian economy and quite literally ‘warms’ its population. Recent years has seen the replacement of many traditional agricultural buildings with contemporary industrialised versions.
The design is composed of a cluster of symbolic elements borrowed from the agricultural landscape. The roof forms, volumes and construction technique are designed as familiar elements of Manitoban prairie life, appealing to the collective memory and nostalgia of the local population.
Visitors can access the interior of the structure which in addition to protecting users from the wind also filters the light, warming the internal environment by converting the cool winter light into a warm yellow glow. A bench inside provides the opportunity to rest with a view directed towards the local landscape which is tinted with the colour of the fabric skin. At night the installation illuminates the landscape as a beacon of incandescent light reflected in the snow.