Let's chill in the warming hut

- February 10, 2011

The warming hut offers respite from the cold at the Canada Games Oval. (Greg Richardson Photo)

C A N A D A   G A M E S

Oval fever has swept the city. But don’t worry; if this fever causes chills, the cure is far more enjoyable than bed rest.

The oval in question is of course the Canada Games Skating Oval and the fever is the ground swelling of support to make the oval a permanent fixture on the Halifax Common.

And the cure for those winter chills? A warming hut designed by The ArchiTextiles (or @lab), a collaborative project between the Dalhousie University School of Architecture and the NSCAD Division of Craft.

The Warming Hut was commissioned by the HRM as a public art installation for the 2011 Canada Winter Games.

The structure stands 4.5 metres high and is modeled to look like the Great Plains-style teepees that were on the Halifax Common for the Membertou 400 celebration during the summer of 2010.

Warming Hut
The interior features a LED light chandelier and walls that look like ice sheets. (Greg Richardson Photo)

The Warming Hut is meant to be used as a shelter and social space, which reflects the collaborative and multidisciplinary environment in which it was created. It also provides an interactive experience for visitors.

“Through bio feedback, it is possible to interact with the structure. Using the electricity in the body, special metal plates pick-up your heartbeat. The sounds echoes in the hut and changes the colours of the lights in the chandelier,” says Dr. Sarah Bonnemaison, principle investigator at the @lab and professor with the Dalhousie School of Architecture.

“It’s just a really fun way to be in touch with your body,” says Dr. Bonnemaison.

The Warming Hut also interacts with the environment. Transparent fabric shingles allow natural light to illuminate the interior of the structure during the day. The textured fabric resembles skate-blade marks on the Oval’s ice surface. When night falls, the illuminated chandelier can truly be appreciated fully- thousands of fabric snowflakes are illuminated with LED lights, constantly changing colour. The result transforms the Warming Hut into a fairytale-style winter wonderland.

The @lab relied on the expertise of several Dalhousie students from various disciplines such as computer modeling, mechanical engineering, architecture and electronics as well as students from a variety of disciplines from NSCAD University.

Once the 2011 Canada Games have wrapped-up, the Warming Hut will be dismantled. It will be used for future events and festivals throughout the HRM so Haligonians will be able to continue to experience this unique piece of public art.

LINK: Architextile @Lab 

Dalhousie is a proud Sapphire Sponsor of the 2011 Canada Games. For more:

  • Visit our Canada Games website with links to all Games-related Dal News stories
  • Read first-person Games accounts and get Dalhousie results at our blog
  • Contribute your Games photos to our Flickr group


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