Building Magazine


Finalists revealed in Toronto’s inaugural Winter Stations design competition.

After reviewing nearly 200 submissions from 36 countries, the jury of the inaugural Winter Stations Competition in Toronto has selected four finalists to come to Toronto and see their designs come to life.

“I was so impressed with the creativity and hard-work demonstrated by all 196 entries. This project has the potential to transform the beach during the winter and I am thrilled to be a part of it,” says Mary Margaret McMahon, Ward Councillor for the City of Toronto, and one of the competition’s five jurors.

Started by RAW Design, Ferris + Associates and Curio, Winter Stations is an open international design competition inviting artists, designers, architects and landscape architects to re-imagine one of Toronto’s most under-appreciated winterscapes.

Using the theme of warmth as a guide, designers were asked to turn the utilitarian lifeguard stations along Toronto’s east beaches into whimsical pieces of wintertime public art. After launching the competition in October, the national and international design community responded in droves, with submissions from places as far off as China, Japan, Russia, Holland, Spain and the U.K.

With all the international attention, it’s not a surprise that three of the four winners are from outside Canada.

The four Winter Stations finalists are:

  • Sling Swing by WMB Studio (London/Liverpool, UK): a playful take on how the iconic deckchair might adapt itself to the cold winter months, Sling Swing is meant to huddle beach goers together in pockets of warmth. The colourful canvases evoke a sense of summer beach nostalgia, while the breeze ensures a continuously animated installation;
  • Driftwood Throne by DM_Studio (London, UK): using reused timber, DM_Studio’s design transforms the modest lifeguard stand from a simple, discreet metal object into a strong, faceted sculptural form that provides seating and shelter from the winter wind;
  • Wing Back by Tim Olson (New Hampshire, USA): appropriating the tall, swept typology of a wingback chair, this installation creates an over-sized seating structure designed to gather people together. The tall wall provides shelter from northern winds, and a central fire ring will provide warmth in the depths of winter;
  • HotBox by Michaela MacLeod and Nicholas Croft (Toronto, Canada): HotBox mimics the typology of the ice house traditionally used in northern climates, heightening the contrast between inside and outside and allowing visitors to experience warmth through visual, auditory, tactile, and associative means. The design was submitted by architects Michaela MacLeod and Nicholas Croft who began collaborating on installations and public art projects two year ago.     

In addition to the four finalists, Ryerson University Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science will lead a team of students to create an installation for one of the stands.

  • Snowcone, by Diana Koncan and Lily Jeon and the Department of Architectural Science, Ryerson (Toronto, Ontario), mimics the protective organic form of the pinecone and marries it with the simple, effective technology of the native igloo. Snowcone was the winning project of a design charette held within the Department of Architectural Science to chose the fifth Winter Station. Fourth-year undergraduate students Diana Koncan and Lily Jeon are leading the design.

All five installations will be built from February 13-16 along Kew, Scarborough and Balmy Beaches in the heart of The Beach community, broadly located south of Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues. Installations will debut February 16, 2015 at 2pm as part of the Winter Stations Grand Opening festival, and will stay open to the public until March 20, 2015.

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