A naturally frozen skating trail on the Assiniboine River in Winnipeg, Canada needed a shelter from frigid temperatures, which prompted New York-based KNE studio to create this ROPE Pavilion. The pavilion is the winning entry in the 2012 Warming Huts: an Art and Architecture Competition, a contest which calls for creative redesigns of the warming huts which are placed every kilometer along the Assiniboine River trail for skaters to take refuge from the blistering chill. The contest has produced structures designed by such world-renowned architects as Frank Gehry, Patricia Patkau and Antoine Predock.
The aptly named ROPE Pavilion is made out of manila rope and a birch wood frame. A very simple and elegant construct, the birch wood frame is notched to hold the strands of the manila rope in place. Inside, there are stools made from a bundle of large ropes secured by an outer ring around the perimiter of the hut.
The dense rope skin works perfectly to block the winter winds while still allowing views and daylight into the pavilion. This choice of materials also adds automatic visual warmth to the hut in its very cold surroundings. The unusual shape of the hut is a direct result of optimizing heat retention. The only openings in the shelter happen in the entry and in an oculus, which prevents the hut from getting too dark.
Kevin Erickson and Allison Warren at KNEstudio didn’t just design their pavilion on paper or using small scale models. They built over 25 full-scale prototypes, testing the materials, the connections, the shape and the daylighting, before settling on their final winning submission, a gorgeous temporary structure created with notable attention to detail.