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Anish Kapoor’s warming hut may be made entirely of ice, but that didn’t exclude it from being entered in this year’s warming hut competition for The Forks.

The large hut, aptly named Stackhouse, is a stack of ice blocks harvested from the Red River.

It took some extra time to be completed after unseasonably warm stretches delayed construction.

It was finally unveiled earlier today (Feb. 10, 2017.)

Kapoor is a world renowned architect and sculptor and recent winner of the Genesis Prize. Though he could not be in Winnipeg in person, he was the main designer of the hut. His other notable works include Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Britain’s largest public art piece, Orbit, a metal tower featured prominently in the 2012 London Olympic Village.

A team from Sputnik Architecture Inc. and ice-sculptor Luca Roncoroni from Norway – who has won the warming hut competition in the past with Wind Catcher in 2012 and This Big in 2015 – brought Kapoor’s vision to life. 

The CEO of The Forks Renewal Corporation, Paul Jordan, said having both Kapoor and Roncoroni on board with this project was more than they could have hoped for.

“To have a piece designed by the one-and-only Anish Kapoor is huge,” said Jordan. “He’s a superstar worth millions, we couldn’t have bought this man, but he was interested in what Winnipeg is and the frozen element of our city.”

“A city in the middle of nowhere that is a place where culture is happening.”

Peter Hargraves with Sputnik Architecture Inc. says having Roncoroni’s expertise was important in construction.

“As soon as we had Anish Kapoor on board we called Luca and told him we needed him back here in Winnipeg,” said Hargraves. “The complexity of the building, working in the cold and working with new tools like large chainsaws was tough, but Luca is an expert at this and led the team.”

“He had been planning for months ahead of this project.”

 

 

Stackhouse weighs approximately 70 tonnes in total and over 100 tonnes of ice had to be harvested from the Red River in order to complete it. Each ice block weighs approximately 700 pounds and had to be moved using heavy machinery, according to Hargraves. 

Hargraves says people who check out Stackhouse are in for a unique experience.

“There are these beautiful moments when the sun is setting and as the ice cools you can hear this crackling noise so it’s almost like a musical instrument,” said Hargraves. “At night when the lights are shining all around the forks it kind of sucks the light in and starts to glow and it’s very beautiful.”

“When the sun is out its actually pretty warm inside as well,” he continued. “We always get teased about them being called “The Warming Huts” when they aren’t warm but when the sun is shining, it’s actually a pretty warm space.”

Time is of the essence as The Forks says the hut will only be up for a number of weeks because it will naturally melt when the weather gets warmer.

Stackhouse and other winners from this year’s warming hut competition are on the river trail at The Forks.