It’s amazing what you can do with some fluorescent yellow paint and a little hut.
Three small Winnipeg firms have combined their skills to win a prestigious international award that landed their made-in-Manitoba project on the cover of Azure Magazine, Canada’s preeminent architecture publication.
The Hygge House design – dreamed up by Urbanink, Pike Projects and Plains Projects – is also featured in a two-page spread in Azure, which is now on newsstands. The award was for Best Temporary or Demonstration Architecture as well as the People’s Choice Award for that category.
The Azure awards attracted 677 entries from 38 countries.
The Hygge House had previously been awarded the winning design for Warming Huts v. 2013 + Architecture on Ice, sponsored by the Forks in February, which drew over 100 competitors.
"To be recognized by very accomplished, discerning people, that’s really a big deal," said Colin Grover, of Pike Projects. "The biggest companies with the biggest payrolls and the fanciest offices... we were up against those people."
Grover received the award last Thursday in Toronto and was taken aback by the reaction to a modest, yellow hut that was described by one judge as "very Winnipeg. It’s smart and funny and it has a strong identity."
"I was totally blown away," Grover said. "you build a little yellow hut and all of a sudden you have big architects from all over the place telling you it’s fabulous."
Liz Wreford Taylor of Plains Projects first proposed constructing a Hygge House, which is a Danish concept for visual warmth through design. Grover said their design attempted "being at the cabin on a cold day, playing crokinole with grandma."
Wreford Taylor said exposure the award brings is particularly important for three two-person firms from the prairies.
"This is a lot of publicity for us. We’ll see what happens," she said.