The architectural competition brings design onto the ice for the eighth year running.

When you live in Winnipeg, it’s only natural you’re going to start thinking up creative ways to keep warm. It’s why each winter for the past eight years, the Warming Huts Art and Architecture Competition has been inviting designers and architects to install cozy structures along the Red River for skaters to experience and explore (and, more importantly, hide out from the cold winter air for a bit).A blind jury chooses the winning structures, and starchitects and students alike come out to compete—this year, more than 180 submissions came in. We’ve got a sneak peek at some of the winning works: hot designs just right for a cool city.

Golden Bison

David Alberto Arroyo Tafolla Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico

Morelia’s design takes the form of a bison, Manitoba’s official animal, and is crafted from plywood and gold paint. Visitors can climb up inside to find a cozy shelter, with natural light pouring in through the skylight.


Architecture Office b210, Tallinn, EstoniaThe black tower—contrasting starkly with the snowy landscape—is built to fit a single person to “provide a unique experience to climb a tower that is as narrow as the person themselves,” explains the project brief. But because there are two structures, you and another person may find yourself both standing four metres from the ground, alone but together.

The Trunk

Camille Bianchi and Ryder Thalheimer, Vancouver, B.C.

For this inspired-by-nature warming hut, layers of laminated wood have been cut into the shape of a single growth ring and compiled to create an inhabitable tree. Slip inside to escape the cold and find a cozy refuge in the hollowed out space.

Temple of Lost Things

Guy Maddin, OM, CM, filmmaker and visiting lecturer at Harvard University, Winnipeg, MB

Each year, a special guest is invited to participate in the Warming Hut competition, and the honour for 2018 goes to local hero Maddin, a celebrated filmmaker and lecturer. His creation plays off of his many winters spent in Winnipeg, and the memories lost as the snow melts each spring.

Construction on these innovative structures begins in January; get ready to strap on your skates and explore them in person when the time comes.

Ready to brave a Winnipeg winter? Check out our getaway guide to this snowy city.