Winnipeg Warming Huts Get Political

©. ARI

The deadline for entries for the Winnipeg Warming Hut competition was way back in October, 2016; we covered the winners in our post in early November. But one entry is getting international interest; Joyce de Grauw and Paul van den Berg's Open Border was designed long before the election but seems prescient now.

open border

The designers tell Fast Company:

Creating a wall or border on a route is one the most radical and unnatural architectural statements one can make, which was something we liked a lot. The moment we came up with the wall we realized this would be a political act as well.
crossing the border


The designers explain in greater detail on their website:

The red, almost four meter high barrier spans the river, creates a strong border, and is clearly visible in the contrasting white snowy landscape. The double wall is cladded with red insulating strips that keep the cold wind out. The inner walls create a series of interlinked spaces. Skaters and pedestrians can cross the border over the full length. Inside the wall the atmosphere feels warmer, a friendly place that invites people to play and come together.
coming through open border


It may be political, and it probably doesn't do a whole lot of warming, but it is impressive. We always show these Warming Huts because the Winnipeg skate trail is the world's longest, and has become an international hit in a very cold city; what started as a local recreational skate has turned into something much bigger. Art can do that.

red blanket in use

It also is not the first red wall; Workshop Architecture did an installation that is sort of similar a few years ago. It's not quite a wall, but it is red....