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Winter Stations 2021 Launches Competition Worldwide

Winter Stations—a Toronto festival that takes places on the city’s east beaches—is moving forward with the design competition portion of their annual program, in anticipation of mounting a safe, socially distant exhibition in 2021.

The competition is calling on the design community to submit their visions for winter pavilions attached to lifeguard stations along the beach. Submissions are due by 11:59pm EST November 17, 2020 with winners to be announced January 6, 2021.

Rendering image of Charlie Sutherland’s submission to Winter Stations 2020, ‘Kaleidoscope of the Senses’.

Launched by RAW Architects, Ferris + Associates and Curio in 2015, the competition captures the imagination of local and international designers, asking them to transform the utilitarian lifeguard stations along Toronto’s east-end beaches into whimsical works of public art.

“The star of Winter Stations has always been the beach, and the unique winter setting it provides. We’re hopeful, with the openness of the landscape, and the distance between each lifeguard stand, that we can provide a safe outing for the people of Toronto to enjoy. Now more than ever, it’s important to embrace the outdoors and the seasonality of our city,” said Winter Stations founder Roland Rom Colthoff.

All 2021 installations will be temporarily constructed for six weeks and must be able to withstand the rigours of Toronto’s winter weather. Winter Stations 2021 will aim to build out 5-6 lifeguard stations at Woodbine Beach in east Toronto. Installations will be unveiled on Family Day weekend—February 15, 2021—and will be available for viewing until March 31, 2021.

The competition is open to all entries around the world. There is no fee to enter. Winning teams will be awarded $3500 and may have the opportunity to visit Toronto during the last phase of construction and participate in activities surrounding the opening.

“After such a challenging 2020 for us all, the light and energy this event brings to the cold, dark winter months is going to be more meaningful than ever before. For years, Winter Stations has brought people together from around the world to celebrate art and community. We’re fortunate the event is so well adapted to our current reality,” said Brad Bradford, Toronto City Councillor, Ward 19 Beaches-East York. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the incredible creative energy we’ve seen in the last several months colours this special event.”

For the Winter Stations 2021 edition, the theme is ‘Refuge’. The theme invites designers to reflect back on the year we have left behind and consider what refuge means to each of us: a shelter, a place of comfort and security, a sanctuary.

The competition brief says: “As a community, we may offer refuge. As individuals, we may protect one another, providing respite from danger or insulation from harsh realities. Refuge evokes discovery and the idea of exploring remote places. It reflects a renewed appreciation of the outdoors, while highlighting the importance of our safe spaces.”

The brief also asks designers to factor in the pandemic and anticipate a more socially distant exhibition than in past years. “How can we evoke refuge in an exhibition that will necessitate physical distance between visitors? And how can we promote interactivity when our ability to relate with the stations may have to omit physical touch in the name of safety?”

Applicants can register at: winterstations.com/competition.

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