Drawing in the Gion

Possibly the most beautiful street I have ever seen…

You can see the actual locations here on google maps.


Keeping Warm

Vlad just finished finalizing the renderings for our warming hut application. This is an architecture competition for small pavilions along the river skate path in Winnipeg that happens every winter.  I’ll post some of the rough sketches later, but it’s great to see the impact some though full color and texture add.

Keeping Warm

Chopping wood, felting wool, shoveling snow, skating – activities that spike your body temperature and fend off cold winter nights. This proposal explores the design potential in keeping warm.

Putting the team to work (i guess we need a team...)
Putting the team to work (i guess we need a team…)

The friction in cascading snow cements it into a solid mass and a team carves room for a hearth and seating. Strangers work together to lay down wool for cocoons big enough to be shared. These pods, felted by skaters dragging bundles along the skating path, are dried by the hearth and then hung in nooks to snugly envelop guests as they warm up.

Sitting by the fire
Sitting by the fire

This warming hut does what its name implies. Requiring intense activity and inputs of energy from its builders, the building emphatically keeps them warm. That work is also embedded in the materiality, form and character of the finished shelter – thereby extending the warming act beyond itself both physically and temporally.

Forming the hearth around a rock.
Forming the hearth around a rock.
I posted earlier about "mother felt". Skaters would help create the pods.
I posted earlier about “mother felt”. Skaters would help create the pods.
A view of the "hut" from above. The central hearth and pods surrounding it.
A view of the “hut” from above. The central hearth and pods surrounding it.


More sketches from our warming hut development. We have been thinking about a hearth formed by mounding a piece of sheet metal around a boulder, then inverting it.

The warming hut foundation and hearth.
The warming hut foundation and hearth.
Section through the felt pods and some possible anchoring options.


The drift has a hard life

We had a chance to visit  the Canadian Museum of Making. This is a privately held collection of machines from the turn of the century. The collection is unbelievable – and very well taken care of. They employ a team of skill craftspeople to maintain and recondition the artifacts. On our visit we were treated to a full demonstration by one of the resident blacksmith’s. Their workshop was filled with handmade tools – created over his career – to forge and work metal in every possible way. My favorite was something called a “drift” – it is used to manipulate the holes that piece the forged metal.  Hammering it into the metal (with one arm bulked by years of practice) of the blacksmith said quietly:  You know – the drift – it has a hard life…

The forge
The forge at the Canadian Museum of Making
The blacksmith’s tools
The blacksmith


Burning up.

Chopping wood, felting, shoveling snow – all things that spike your body temperature and help stave off the cold winter nights. We are thinking through  the design potentials in that kind of activity. Things that keep you warm.

I’m fascinated by the concept of a “mother felt” – a component of one building used as template, form and transit method for the fabrication of another component. By laying raw wood onto an older felt piece form a yurt – rolling it around an axle and dragging it on the journey to a new campsite – another piece of felt of the same size is create to replace or augment the old. Every yurt is at some level be an impression of a previous iteration.

Check out this video to see what I mean.

Warming Hut 3 Warming Hut 4 Warming Hut 5

Drawings from Victoria Park Calgary, Walk/Draw experiements

These were created walking with actor/writer Ellen Close in Victoria Park Calgary.Walking With Ellen Part 2 Detail Walking With Ellen Part 2