Getting shelter in unforeseen circumstances and environments is always a primary objective. When you get lost in the cold of winter, your first thought is to get warm.

Hay bales

And to stay warm. The standard, straight bus-shelter like structures simply don’t provide enough protection against the cold. Even more if you just got yourself a multi-kilometer walk or skate trip. This year again, Winnipeg organized the Warming Huts or Warming on Ice competition for the most original warming hut. Let’s see if this can warm you up…

Last year and this year we saw the strangest structures grow from the ice. What at first glance looks like a discarded potato chips bag is at closer inspection a well-designed hut to get you warm again.


This one is called “Apparition”.  “A haunting, ambiguous object, enmeshed with the icy realm. Snow drifts on this geologic microcosm while glaciers in miniature advance and recede in the aluminum folds.”


Solar fuelled lighting within the wooden structural armature focuses the entry aperture, inviting glowing promise of inner respite.”

Not my words, this is written on the panel presenting the hut…

Other huts are more conventional like this one, made from a wooden skeleton: covered in pine fir:

Fir hutFir hut

The fir hut borrows inspiration from early Aboriginal designs and materials. The project is a combination of these ancient techniques with modern materials (pop cans) in a seamless new whole. The creator learned the technique of thatching balsam fir from the Mi’kmaq people of Atlantic Canada.”

The next one is more an individual look on warming up.

Jellyfish… Wait for it.
Jellyfish… Wait for it.

I have no idea why this is called jellyfish but the material seems to be nice. I haven’t tried to get warm in this one, if I have to use all pieces, I should cut myself in smaller pieces. Ok, there would be enough material, but it would still be a messy business. This hut does not have a lyric description of the structure.

Under the covers
Under the covers

Under the covers is a perfect example of this process. The conceptual design comes from the very idea of splitting and peeling a pre-existing fabric. Its design development makes use of a technique in computational modeling that uses the act of peeling as logic towards its formal articulation…” .

In other words, they have been using computers to design this.

Let’s not forget that these huts are supposed to warm you up in the bitter cold of the wind over the ice.

The next hut was placed a little further from the river and “towers” over everything else:

Hay bales
Hay bales

I got inside this one, because I was cold. It is made of hay-bales and you would think this would be warm. Not this one. Inside there is enough wind to be happy to get out again. Even more because on the lee side of these hay-bales the wind is indeed a bit calmer. Perhaps I missed the point with this one and the warming part is on the outside?

Some take inspiration in the countryside. This hut is called Carcass.


The Carcass hut is inspired by the decrepit barns that you can find throughout the rural landscape. Carcass is both a eulogy and a celebration”. It is made of polycarbonate panels and laminated wood. At least the wind cannot get through to you and chill you.

Another hut is taking the warming part very literal:


This “woodpile” is made from a metallic structure, filled with logs. At first glance this doesn’t seem very warming, until you look inside and discover that there is a fire burning.


The principle of this hut is to get shelter from the wind in the beginning of the winter and burn the wood little by little to stay warm. By the end of the winter, temperatures are more clement and you don’t need the wood anymore. Anyway you are supposed to have burned it during the cold period.

This one is definitely the winner for me. Warm and inviting. Only one small inconvenience though: it is a bit small and cramped. But perhaps it’s not made to accommodate seven people at the same time…

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Henk Von Pickartz
29 days 15 hours

Best of Luck in your new home Anton en Greet Dank je :-)

Anton Peereboom
30 days 12 hours

Best of Luck in your new home Anton en Greet

Henk Von Pickartz
1 month

Best of luck in your new home! Thank you! :-)

1 month

Best of luck in your new home!

Hilma Sinkinson
2 months 2 days

I am in love with your images of the cold prairie winters. I lived in the middle south of Manitoba and want to get a licensed ...

Dan Topham
3 months 8 days

As always, I enjoy your photo bytes and this one is right up there. After using the flip screen on lay Canon 60D I have ofte ...

4 months 12 days

You mentioned swimming by one of your photos. I see no one swimming. Can we swim at Fort Whyte? They seem to have a dock o ...

Vernon Cole
4 months 18 days

I am looking to see if there are any pictures of the original house situated at Munson Park

John Pelechaty
4 months 21 days

---Great blog once again Henk - enjoyed it very much....

4 months 27 days

Thanks for that piece of info. I had a hard time seeing that burn inside... :-)