Winter Fun on the Rivers, Jan 29 2013

Heading down to the frozen Assiniboine River


Winnipeg Winter Fun on Ice

“Warming Huts v.2013: An Art + Architecture Competition on Ice, was an open competition, endorsed by the Manitoba Association of Architects. Proposals for the competition were all submitted on line

From over 100 entries this year, jury members selected designs that best “push the envelope of design, craft and art.” Three huts were chosen from the open submission process, one from a separate University of Manitoba competition and one is being designed by award winning architect Atelier Big City, from Montreal.”

Hygge House was designed by Winnipeg firms Plain Projects; Urbanink and Pike Projects.

From Global NEWS; Jan 24 2013

“The river trail warming huts will officially be unveiled today.  Crews on the water near The Forks worked in bitter cold Wednesday to erect this year’s structures.
Eight of the 13 huts are returning from previous years, while three are the latest structures chosen in an annual architecture competition that has attracted global attention.   Award-winning architecture firm Atelier Big City was invited to design a hut this year. Its large structure, finished in Tyvec, is designed to blur into the colours of ice and snow.
Howard Davies, an architect at Atelier Big City, was on site yesterday.  “We’ve done probably half-a-dozen outdoor installations, temporary buildings, over the past decade,” Davies said. “Never one in winter, never one on ice, so this seemed like a really nice thing to try and do.”
This year’s competition winners are the cabin-like but fluorescent yellow Hygge House, the nest-like Smokehouse and Woolhouse, which is of curtain-like fabric construction.”

A No. 22 Cast Iron Florence Wood Stove

From the Warming Huts website;

“Hygge House is cozy. It is a simple wood framed structure; a reproduction of one of the most cherished symbols of Canadiana – the wilderness cottage. Within Hygge House, artifacts of cottage life set a stage for an authentic depiction of the comfort and familiarity of the weekend getaway. The entire interior of Hygge House is painted fluorescent yellow. Coating the contents not only creates a warm, inviting space, sheltered from the wind – it also creates a stage set where the visitors to Hygge House become essential components of the experience. Although the house is full of mounted antlers and fish, warm blankets, a working wood stove, old baseball hats, comic books, plaid shirts and old tine matches, Hygge House is only truly achieved when people come together. Hygge House becomes a place for warmth and togetherness.”

From the Winnipeg Free Press;

“A group of Winnipeg designers has beat out 90 entries from around the world in designing something we should be good at: warming huts.

The annual Forks warming hut design contest winner is a pioneer cabin called Hygge House, a Danish word meaning physically and socially cozy.

The warming hut, which is sawed in half and painted fluorescent yellow inside, was entered by local companies Plain Projects, Urbanink, and Pike Projects.

The local architects were picked by a blind jury with no background or knowledge on submitters. The local talent beat out entries from as distant as Tokyo, Moscow, Lisbon, Barcelona, Egypt, Columbia and Germany.

Peter Hargraves of Sputnik Architecture called the winning entry “a reproduction of Canadiana, the wilderness cottage.”

Hygge House, pronounced “hYOOguh,” and other contest entries should be up on The Forks ice skating trails by the third week of January.

Paul Jordan, chief operator officer of The Forks Renewal Corporation, said it’s looking good for a river trail this year but didn’t want to say anything more.

“I don’t want to jinx it,” he said.

The world’s longest river trail hasn’t been its normal self the last two years, when it was only three kilometres long.”

Winter snow makes abstract shapes



21 Mayfair, Winnipeg Manitoba Canada






Sonus Loci installation by Stantec Inc.




Art and Architecture on Ice, Winnipeg




Danger Thin Ice Keep Off


The Forks in Winter, Winnipeg


Atelier Big City; by Cormier Cohen Davies Architects, Montreal Canada

From the Warming Huts website;

“Keeping warm together, that is what Big City is all about. The great open air gathering space is inviting and receptive, welcoming skaters in for a moment of rest. The simple yet grand structure out on this natural rink is a hovering silhouette, somewhat blurred into the colours of the ice and snowy winter setting.
Finished in Tyvec, a material inevitably linked with things to come, the scale of the warming hut is larger than life to imitate the wide open space surrounding it. A true Beau Geste of a building: part mirage, part air, a skeleton of everyday construction aspiring to create a place.
Big City’s construction is can be compared to a giant thick blanket, with the layers filled with air, forming an insulating layer, giving form to the hut, absorbing the sun’s warmth, hopefully creating a brief pause in the cold winter skate.”

It’s winter time, but he’s still wearing shorts. (I also love the poor guy on the left all alone.)




“Mr. Cohen’s firm, atelier Big City (with partners Anne Cormier and Howard Davies) is known for its innovative and often gregarious approach to architectural design. Two centres of interpretation built in eastern Quebec at Pabos Mills and Trois- Pistoles as well as a housing project on Paper Hill in Montreal (U2) demonstrate the group’s desire to build provocatively yet also deal sensitively with issues related to site organization, construction, program, and budget.

The work of Big City, both built and un-built, tries to push the envelope of what we might imagine to be possible in the architectural project, converting restrictions and limitations into work that celebrates the latent potential and optimism of everyday life. Their work combines metaphorical/interpretative themes, with innovative material use and construction. The projects are structured on a strong conceptual approach based on the interpretation of program and siting strategies.

Of particular interest to the group is the notion of public space in buildings and the importance of the architectural promenade, a spatial journey animated by relations established between elements of the program, and between the built project and its environment. Each project is an exploration in generating an architectural milieu of grand sensual stimulation through the use of very simple means: color, volume, material and structure. The work of Atelier Big City explores the potential for the creation of spaces in which the various themes of movement, structure, function, materiality, and form are dynamically employed.”




The Raw Almond Pop up Winter Restaurant on the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg will operate for three weeks. But the tickets sold out on the first day! Sorry. No more room for dinner!


“Raw: Almond” is a temporary pop-up restaurant that was the creation of architect Joe Kalturnyk and Mandel Hitzer, chef and owner of the Deer + Almond restaurant downtown.

From January 24 to February 13, the outdoor eatery near The Forks will be serving up five-course meals from the city’s hottest chefs at a premium price. For $85 per person, diners will be able to sit in a warm shelter where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet and nosh on meals from Segovia, Pizzeria Gusto, Elements, Deseo, Diversity, Bistro 7 1/4, and Peasants Cookery.

The Tallest Poppy will be providing a skate/walk-up weekend brunch menu from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Paul Jordan, chief operating officer of The Forks. “You just don’t fine dine, you have this experience while you’re doing it, so to eat at a high-end restaurant in one of the most extreme environments on the planet is just very appealing to me. They’re almost sold out, so I would suggest anybody who wants to do this, they better get their tickets because as a pop-up implies, this could be here and gone before you get a chance.”

Three seating times are available for Raw: Almond — 5:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.”

Mandel Hitzer, chef and owner of the Deer + Almond


Braving the elements at the river restaurant

Pop-up place a culinary experience like no other

By: Nick Martin   Winnipeg Free Press

A table on the river if you please, garcon.

No, not by the river, not overlooking the river, on the river.

Where else in the world would you find diners sitting happily on the frozen Red and Assiniboine rivers, wearing parkas and long johns and Arctic-calibre boots and dining in five-star splendour on glorious gourmet grub served up by some of the city’s top chefs?

OK, granted, so only here would you find the Red and Assiniboine, but the point is, people paid good money Thursday night to walk across the frozen river in -22 C weather and wind chills in the -30s to sit on the ice in a tent to eat.

“We’re making some history now — we want to be part of it,” Cara Kennedy declared as she treated her parents, Bill and Janet, to dinner.

“We’re excited. I was thinking of bringing my ice auger to catch some pickerel and have some sushi,” laughed Bill.

It’s called Raw: Almond and Thursday night was the river restaurant’s opening night.

The ‘pop-up’ restaurant is the brainchild of Mandel Hitzer, owner and chef at deer + almond, and Raw Gallery director Joe Kalturnyk. Tourism Winnipeg suggests the pop-up restaurant may be the first of its kind in the world.

It got tense for a while Thursday. There was supposed to be a 5:30 p.m. sitting, but the eatery wasn’t quite ready to go, and it got cancelled — maybe just as well, since the snowstorm had turned downtown into one massive gridlocked parking lot.

Robyn Eaglesham and Katie Doerksen were delighted to hear their 7:30 p.m. sitting would christen the restaurant.

“We feel very special,” said Doerksen.

Getting down to the basics — Raw: Almond is a tent in the middle of the ice, about 300 metres behind The Forks Market and just a tad beyond the old trestle bridge. No signs, but look towards St. Boniface and you’ll see generators, an enormous propane tank, two biffies and a big, white thing with lights inside, all sitting out in the middle of the ice.

Up to 20 guests sit all cosy close together and get to know each other on either side of one long table, sitting on tree stumps adorned by blankets, with giant heaters blasting away. Thick sheeting is the only thing between the epicures’ boots and the ice.

No one was removing any coats Thursday night. At the far end is the kitchen, where the chefs work on a slightly raised platform.

“We’re here for the great chefs and the great food,” said Ash Dzikowsky.

“It’s exciting,” said friend Jenny Presentanz. Exciting indeed. “Let’s party on the ice!” proclaimed Hitzer.

Not your typical greeting from an owner/maitre d’/chef, but quite appropriate as far as throwing out the first pitch goes.

Hitzer was seriously pumped they all pulled it off.

“This is the finest, most exciting culinary experience of my life,” he bubbled, in between taking scallops and foie gras torchon appetizers to the first 16 guests.

The menu included four courses, followed by dessert. The first course included cured albatross, radish, lime and woodstock. No, Hitzer didn’t have time to explain what woodstock is.

Alcoholic beverages were also available. Marathon runner David Cormie was logging his miles along the river ice when the aromas lured him over.

“This is awesome,” said Cormie. “I admire the bravery of the organizers to put their money at risk.”

Raw: Almond is open for three weeks for dinner at 5:30, 7:30, and 9:30 p.m., with breakfast and lunch on weekends.”



Raw: Almond” is a temporary pop-up restaurant that was the creation of architect Joe Kalturnyk and Mandel Hitzer, chef and owner of the Deer + Almond restaurant in downtown Winnipeg.



Free Shots!


Amazing Scaffolding pipes to hold up the tent




Seating is on very nice looking Birch logs



Winnipeg Winter Panorama looking towards St Boniface






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