2020 Competition Winners

Invited Artist: Royal Canoe

A special performance on January 31, 2020 in collaboration with renowned ice architect Luca Roncoroni + Sputnik Architecture

Over the past few years in Winnipeg, there has been a noted shift toward accepting and appreciating our identity as one of the coldest cities on Planet Earth. There are now several events and initiatives like the River Trail, the Warming Huts, Raw: Almond, and Big Fun Festival, along with mainstays like Festival du Voyageur that take place in the dead of winter, minus 30 be damned (“Spirited Energy” be damned too). Winnipeg is our weird, cold home — let’s get the long-johns on and freeze our asses off together.

In keeping with that, Royal Canoe is pleased to announce that we’ll be performing a free outdoor show on the river at The Forks on January 31st. Since it’s too cold to play guitars or drums, we’ll be using a combination of instruments and triggers carved from blocks of ice pulled directly from the Red River to present completely reimagined versions of our material. There will be ice drums and percussion, an ice sample kit/light-machine, some pitched ice instruments, and an ice horn, in addition to our usual keyboards and synthetic textures. Our intention is for the tone and mood of the performance to complement the stark, yet fierce, environment on the river in winter. It will be an adventure and challenge for us to explore some different sounds and tools than we’re accustomed to, but we’re also excited to deconstruct the structures, tempos, and keys of our songs. We’re hoping it’ll sound like 70s-era David Bowie or The Knife went to Antarctica got really into the sound of ice and then decided to cover Royal Canoe songs.

We will be teaming up with some tremendously talented people to pull this off: Sputnik Architecture and Luca Roncoroni (creative director of ICEHOTEL in Sweden) will design and build the instruments and performance area right on the river, projectionist Stephanie Cruse will create original visuals that will interact with the icescape, and Andy Rudolph will use his ingenuity to develop the custom ice sound and light triggers technology.

We would like to acknowledge that this performance will take place in Treaty 1 territory, the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. It is a special privilege as colonial descendants to have the opportunity to perform on the ice in such a sacred place where the two rivers meet. 

Winning Designs


Noël Picaper, Onomiau (Office for Nomadic Architecture)

Paris, Strasbourg, France

The Droombok is a fantastic creature living along the River Trail in Winnipeg. We created a space in which the surrounding nature finds its way inside. Thanks to its bestial outline and its scale, the structure’s relation with its context, is in constant change: the sun produces a layer of moving shadows, breezes enter freely and the snow is softly reflecting the environment on its (thatch) fur. As we get closer to it, other modes of reading emerge. Inside its belly, a landscape of white sculptures appears. Each form can be interpreted in various ways and spurs the imagination. Made out of environmental friendly materials, this architecture tries to interrogate the potential of myths and stories in a sustainable process.


Ashida Architect & Associates Co.

Tokyo, Japan

Warmth comes from being together. Enjoying time with other people is something we do less and less, because of the daily hectic. Let’s gather at this natural place, spend time and listen to each other. It is warm and silent inside the huts made out of straw.

The Village

Communities are diverse, so are the shapes of the huts. Sit together with friends, climb into the huts, meet new people. All this while experiencing the warmth of the huts and the smell of straw. Reconnect with nature and people again.


Modern Office + Sumer Singh, MTHARU/Mercedes + Singh

Calgary, Canada

Conceived as a small shelter or hovel, S(hovel) reimagines an everyday, off-the-shelf article of winter – the snow shovel – into a swirling vortex of mystery and intrigue that only reveals its true identity upon closer inspection and inhabitation. Built from 194 aluminum shovels, 195 custom milled plywood ‘X’ and ‘Y’ struts and 735 clamps, we challenged ourselves to design a warming hut that could be built and subsequently disassembled using unskilled labour furnished with only a wrench and a hand drill!

Designed for disassembly, S(hovel) is destined for a philanthropic afterlife in which, following its stint as a Warming Hut, the 194 shovels would be donated to Take Pride Winnipeg’s Snow Angel Program, a non-profit charity that helps seniors and the infirm with snow removal each year. This circular life-cycle enables S(hovel) to infiltrate the larger community of Winnipeg, enticing the multiple narratives of winter’s spectacle to unfold.

Additional Huts


Manitoba Building Trades + Mistecture Architecture and Interiors Inc.
The Stand tells the story of what can happen when we have the courage to join together for what is right, no matter our background or occupation. The Stand was inspired by the people that stood up and rejected the status quo during the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. It acts as a reminder to learn from the past to ignite change in our future. The reflective element of the design creates a mirror-effect, offering inspiration for those who enter as they face who must stand up for change. Each step through The Stand offers a different reflection of the viewer and a different perspective of the outside world. The seats are arranged at varying heights to signify diversity and the importance of multi-generational voices. The red accent colours were chosen to pay homage to those whose blood was shed on Bloody Saturday, as well as in conflicts across Canada and the globe. The back wall features a quote by Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

U of M Faculty of Architecture in collaboration with Eleanor Bond

For the 2020v the Department of Architecture Foundation Year Studios (ED3/ AMP) is proposing a collaboration with international Winnipeg artist Eleanor Bond. Eleanor Bond graduated from the School of Art, University of Manitoba in 1976. Other studies included English, comparative religion and interior design with a particular interest in the built environment and the interpretation of public space. This is apparent in her paintings and drawings, where emphasis is placed on the impact of technological advances and urban design on living bodies. She has produced staged, fictive narratives which register as some form of landscape or built urban environment. The ironic titles, however, and futuristic overtones, cinematic scale and multiple sightlines suggest a vertigo or lifting off, as if her subjects are no longer on familiar territory. In her work, architectural projections that suggest possibilities for the future are uninhabited as if in transition—a poignant parody of a world where progress may outlive its proponents. Bond’s interest in urban landscapes and urban spaces establishes an introduction to this collaboration, while opening to possibilities of design that are experimental in nature and evocative of her native city winters.