Canadian firm RAW Design has created a series of shelters that look like giant pompoms to keep skaters warm on a frozen river in Winnipeg (+ slideshow).
RAW Design was awarded a spot in the annual Winnipeg Warming Hut competition with their unusual design, called Nuzzles. Made from a geodesic mesh of hollow aluminium tubing and an outer layer of foam bristles - the floats you play with in swimming pools - the Nuzzles provide an inner layer of still air to keep skaters warm.
Aaron Hendershott, one of the designers from RAW Design told Dezeen: "The event organisers were enthusiastic about the design as it challenged the already diverse interpretations of what a warming hut could be."
Inspired by the insulating properties of fur, the designs also glow at night. Skaters are encouraged to nestle - or nuzzle - in the structures and sculpt the bristles into informal seating or standing space. They can also adjust each Nuzzle's light installations.
"People of all ages, particularly children, were drawn to the sculptures and engaged with them in a variety of ways; jumping into them, climbing them, and nestling into them," said Hendershott.
With a residence of 600,000 and temperatures that drop to minus 40, Winnipeg is the coldest city of its size outside of Siberia. The Red and the Assiniboine Rivers meet in the centre of the city and, in winter, provide miles of skating trails.
The Winnipeg Warming Hut competition arose from the need to provide shelter for skaters and every year architecture firms and schools submit design proposals. Past huts we've featured from the annual programme include temporary plywood huts designed by Patkau Architects in 2011.
Here's a project description from RAW Design:
Imagine a series of glowing mounds on the frozen river landscape, each creating immersive layers of light, warmth and interaction. Inspired by the insulating properties of fur, Nuzzles brings a unique, engaging experience to the visitors of the Assiniboine River.
Moving away from the introverted enclosure, Nuzzles exhibits a heated, lit core, encompassed by a multitude of insulated appendages which allow users to nestle into the structure.
Constructed from a geodesic lattice of hollow aluminium tubing, and an outer layer of foam bristles (pool noodles), Nuzzles provides an inner layer of still air in order to increase heat capacity. Occupants are encouraged to playfully interact with bristles in order to sculpt informal seating or standing space as well change the lighting dispersions of the glowing structure.