It's become a TreeHugger tradition, our annual reporting of the winners of the warming hut competition, where architects and designers "push the boundaries in terms of inspiration, design, and materials used." This year, my favorite is The Hole Idea by Weiss Architecture and Urbansim in Toronto. Because it is based on one of my favorite cartoons, also named The Hole Idea.
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....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.
I have truly always wanted a portable hole. All those who strive to minimalism do; it makes it so easy to get rid of stuff.
Now I am a traditionalist and believe that a warming hut should actually do something to keep you warm; I have been critical of some designs in the past that don't. Perhaps because 2014 has been the warmest year on record that is no longer a priority, although I am told that Winnipeg still gets pretty cold. I don't know how this can be called a hut or how it would keep anyone warm, but it is a nice idea. Montreal designers KANVA write:
Recycling Words is an interactive art installation that assembles everyday objects and words to create a playful river narrative.... .
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
Another non-hut; Norwegian designers Tina Soli & Luca Roncoroni say it is really "actually an ice sculpture, a big toy."
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!”
There are also invited submissions and local contributions; put on your skates and see them all at Warming Huts