Gorgeous Warming Huts Designed For Skating Trail, But Do They Work?

warming huts winnipeg photo woodpile

images credit Warming Huts

It's cold in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Yet 450,000 skaters used the Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail last year, and warming huts are a great comfort. Art + Architecture Exposition on Ice runs a competition to select three designs, then invites a starchitect and the local school of architecture to do two more.

The WOODPILE, shown above, is by Noa Biran and Roy Talman of Tel Aviv, where there is not a lot of snow or cold wind.

warming huts winnipeg photo woodpile

That's probably why they designed a hut that probably won't keep anyone warm at all, the wind will blow through it. And they burn the walls through the course of the winter:

As winter begins and firewood is stacked, the woodpile's level is at its maximum. This closes the hut from its surroundings and isolates its inner space from the winter cold. Looking through the cracks between the wood, one can see the campfire inside.

As spring approaches, the woodpile's level is lower and the hut's interior space is gradually revealed and exposed to the outside. At summertime the hut's naked construction could also serve as a shaded pavilion along the river.

warming huts winnipeg photo  hayven

ha(y)ven, by Tri Nguyen, Jayne Chu, Ben Olschner, Jakob Seyboth of New York, is a giant straw bale structure.

The conception of the design proposal emerged from a simple organic material having a strong association and history with the winter season. Hay is commonly used both as feedstock and as a natural insulation in barns/stables where it is stored and increasingly more commonly specified on the innovative side of modern architecture.

Hay is a terrific insulator, and I do hope that they are just relying on body heat to warm up, because I cannot imagine a fire in it.

warming huts winnipeg photo  students

Professor Lancelot Coar, University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture Students

This is clever; build it out of ice.

By first setting up a lightweight compressive framing system, this warming hut will be skinned with a flexible fabric membrane that will cover the structure. After drilling a hole into the ice, the river water will be pumped out and sprayed onto the skin, freezing it and creating a stiffened body on the skeleton it covers. The fabric will become a firm, translucent shell that will illuminate the space within and offer protection from the snow and wind.

See Bustler for the others: Under the Covers by Robert B Trempe Jr. of Philadelphia, and what I think is the starchitect entry by the Patkaus, among my favourite architects in the country, but I think they phoned this one in.

More on ice structures:
Frosty Receptions: Snow Palaces and Ice Hotels Around the World
Disney Takes Over Chinese Ice Festival
Ice Hotel In Sweden is Homage to TRON

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