A new batch of warming huts, designed to keep ice skaters warm on the cold Assiniboine River trail, have been unveiled today at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg.

Officials with The Forks showed off the winners of the 2013 Warming Huts competition, in which architects and artists design shelters for winter enthusiasts skating, walking or skiing on the frozen river.

The contest attracted almost 100 submissions from around the world this year. A jury chose three winning designs:

  • Hygge House, a joint effort between three Winnipeg design firms.
  • The Smokehouse by aamodt/plumb architects in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Woolhaus by Myungkweon Park, a landscape architect in New York.

Hygge House is a "reproduction of one of the most cherished symbols of Canadiana — the wilderness cottage," according to the designers.

The cabin-like hut will be a bright yellow colour to help brighten up the winter landscape, they said.

By contrast, The Smokehouse will have a black charred-wood-like exterior. Felt-lined interior walls and a fire pit will encourage a "quiet warm space."

Woolhaus will also use felt to create "an interior environment that is isolated from the intense cold, brightness and noise of the frozen Assiniboine River," according to the designer.

Construction of the warming huts will start in early January and, weather permitting, go onto the Assiniboine River trail by the third week of that month. They will join eight huts that were built in previous years.

Besides the three competition hut designs, organizers have invited architects from Atelier Big City — a collective of three architects in Montreal — to design a warming hut.

As well, a hut designed by 100 University of Manitoba architecture students will appear on the river. Weave Wave will knit 100 pieces of material together into a "dynamic multi-textured hut."

As well, the river trail will feature Sonus Loci, an art and sound installation consisting of 60 tubes of different heights sticking out from the ice.

The tubes will be "harnessing the power of the wind and harnessing the energy of the sun to create this piece, and then using local musical talents," said Michael Banman, a Sonus Loci team member and an associate with Stantec Architecture.