And they're off! Five new highly original warming huts are now under construction at The Forks. Once completed they will grace the River Trail along the Assiniboine River.
Internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry was invited to construct one of the huts. A competition was announced in September to select three international architects. Winners hail from Czech Republic, Norway and New York City. The fifth hut is being built by the winner of a student competition at the University of Manitoba.
Frank Gehry's firm, Gehry Partners, based in Los Angeles, has sent Frank Gehry's son Sam to today's inaugural event at The Forks and to continue construction of his father's "Five-Hole" warming hut. Inspired by an igloo, their design piles up clear blocks of ice around heavy Douglas Fir timber. "Culturally this isn't part of our world," he says, "so it's kind of nice to venture into other worlds. It's definitely a good experience." The design had to be altered somewhat due to the mild weather. This is Sam Gehry's first time in Winnipeg, his first time standing on a frozen river.
Rope Pavillion by Kevin Erickson and Allison Warren of New York, under construction (CBC)
Kevin Erickson and Allison Warren's New York team were busy weaving hundreds of meters of manila rope around a birch frame. The Czech team is taking a break today, also due to the warm temperatures, after building one of their enormous Ice Pillows. Young people are already enjoying the bright red Hothut, made out of foam, designed by the University of Manitoba Facutly of Architecture.
"The range of work illustrates the paradoxical idea that design constraints can actually be liberating," says CBC Reviewer Alison Gillmor. "And these small, inexpensive, innovative shacks prove that you don't need multimillion-dollar megaprojects to showcase good design. Each of the huts, from
Students relax on the "Hothut" created by the University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture (CBC)
the Gehry piece to the student project, is budgeted at $20,000, and that includes materials, labour, travel - everything."
Jerald Peters, president of the Manitoba Association of Architects, is pleased that art and architecture are sharing the outdoor space and encouraged everyone to appreciate the beauty of art and function coming together in this project.
This is the third year of the Warming Huts on the river. This year's 5 new huts will join 6 huts from the previous years.