Warming hut idea could thaw Edmonton's frozen pedestrians

A Univeristy of Alberta design student is pitching solar-powered heated huts as an artistic place for people to temporarily escape the city's bitter cold.
A U of A design student is proposing small, solar-powered huts to help warm people up while walking around Edmonton. 5:37

An Edmonton student is hoping that the city will warm up to her idea of putting up heated huts to help people chase away the cold.

“You have a small footprint, but there’s so much you can do with it,” industrial design student Danielle Soneff told CBC’s Edmonton AM Thursday.

Soneff said she came up with the idea of solar-powered insulated huts while working on a University of Alberta design project with two fellow students. They built two temporary prototypes and submitted them to a competition for the university's WinterFest in January.

She said she would like to see the city put up more permanent versions around the river valley and other parts where walkers might need to warm up.

Soneff said that other cities, like Winnipeg, have used similar warming huts as artistic and architectural showpieces.

“You definitely need that function, but you can have those beautiful aesthetics.”

Soneff says she plans to pursue the idea after she graduates this year. She has pitched the warming huts to the city, but there are concerns that some of Edmonton’s bylaws could become obstacles for the project.

She’s also hoping some of Edmonton’s winter festivals will opt to build her warming huts.

If the project is selected for WinterFest, Soneff’s warming huts will be installed on the U of A quad for the last weekend of January.


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