Winnipeg Presents the 2020 Warming Huts Competition Winners

Since its inception in 2009, Warming Huts: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice has brought international designers to Winnipeg, to create pavilions for winter skating on its frozen rivers.

The open competition is supported by the Manitoba Association of Architects and has seen entries from across the globe, as well as garnering attention from international architecture publications and awards.

Nearing the end of January, competition winners travel to Winnipeg to begin construction on their warming huts. The weeklong building blitz gives designers a chance to see their vision come to life while allowing the public to watch them at work.

The warming huts are then brought out to the River Trail where visitors skate and interact with the art.

This year’s winning installations include designs from Noël Picaper, Onomiau (Office for Nomadic Architecture), Ashida Architect & Associates Co., Modern Office + Sumer Singh, MTHARU/Mercedes + Singh, and additional huts from the Manitoba Building Trades + Mistecture Architecture and Interiors Inc. Here are the winning entries:

Noël Picaper, Onomiau (Office for Nomadic Architecture)
Paris, Strasbourg, France

Photo courtesy of

The Droombok is a fantastic creature living along the River Trail in Winnipeg. Noël Picaper, Onomiau created a space in which the surrounding nature finds its way inside. Thanks to its bestial outline and its scale, the structure’s relation with its context is in constant change: the sun produces a layer of moving shadows, breezes enter freely and the snow is softly reflecting the environment on its (thatch) fur. As we get closer to it, other modes of reading emerge. Inside its belly, a landscape of white sculptures appears. Each form can be interpreted in various ways and spurs the imagination. Made out of environmentally friendly materials, this architecture interrogates the potential of myths and stories..


Ashida Architect & Associates Co.
Tokyo, Japan

Photo courtesy of

Warmth comes from being together. Enjoying time with other people is something we do less and less, because of hectic daily life. The VIllage invites skaters to gather at a natural place, spending time listening to each other. It is warm and silent inside the huts made out of straw. Communities are diverse, and so are the shapes of the huts.


Modern Office + Sumer Singh, MTHARU/Mercedes + Singh
Calgary, Canada

Photo courtesy of Modern Office.
Photo courtesy of Modern Office.

Conceived as a small shelter or hovel, S(hovel) reimagines an everyday, off-the-shelf article of winter – the snow shovel – into a swirling vortex of mystery and intrigue that only reveals its true identity upon closer inspection and inhabitation. Built from 194 aluminum shovels, 195 custom milled plywood ‘X’ and ‘Y’ struts and 735 clamps, the designers challenged themselves to design a warming hut that could be built and subsequently disassembled using unskilled labour, furnished with only a wrench and a hand drill.

Designed for disassembly, S(hovel) is destined for a philanthropic afterlife in which, following its stint as a Warming Hut, the 194 shovels would be donated to Take Pride Winnipeg’s Snow Angel Program, a non-profit charity that helps seniors and the infirm with snow removal each year. This circular life-cycle enables S(hovel) to infiltrate the larger community of Winnipeg, enticing the multiple narratives of winter’s spectacle to unfold.


Manitoba Building Trades + Mistecture Architecture and Interiors Inc.

Photo courtesy of

The Stand tells the story of what can happen when we have the courage to join together for what is right, no matter our background or occupation. The Stand was inspired by the people that stood up and rejected the status quo during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. It acts as a reminder to learn from the past to ignite change in our future. The reflective element of the design creates a mirror-effect, offering inspiration for those who enter as they face who must stand up for change. Each step through The Stand offers a different reflection of the viewer and a different perspective of the outside world. The seats are arranged at varying heights to signify diversity and the importance of multi-generational voices. The red accent colours were chosen to pay homage to those whose blood was shed on Bloody Saturday, as well as in conflicts across Canada and the globe. The back wall features a quote by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

— Project descriptions courtesy of