Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/9/2011 (3050 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In a coup for one of Winnipeg's newest creative institutions, the best-known living architect on the planet has agreed to design a warming hut at The Forks this winter.
Frank Gehry, the Toronto-born designer behind Seattle's Experience Music Project, Spain's Guggenheim Museum and dozens of other architectural landmarks, has accepted an invitation to design a temporary structure that will appear alongside the Assiniboine Riverwalk.
"We have the rock star of the architecture world," said Forks spokeswoman Clare MacKay, referring to the 82-year-old Gehry, whose flamboyant structures — which are often clad in billowing sheets of metal — serve as architectural-tourism draws as a well as lightning rods for debate about the role of form versus function in many fields of design.
Gehry's style is so well-known outside the architecture world, he actually parodied himself in a 2005 episode of The Simpsons.
Paul Jordan, chief operating officer at The Forks, said he is ecstatic to land his firm, Gehry Partners, during the third year of the Warming Hut exhibition and competition, which begins in the third week of January, weather permitting.
Previous invited architects include Canadian Museum for Human Rights designer Antoine Predock in 2010 and Vancouver's John Patkau in 2011. The Forks wrote to Gehry Partners this April and received a positive response from the Los Angeles-based firm late in the summer.
"I've got talented, young people working in my office who got really excited about this. That got me excited about this," Gehry said in a statement.
The exhibition will feature three warming huts designed by the winners of a competition that has yielded more than 100 entries from firms located around the world, MacKay said. The winners will be chosen by a jury assembled by The Forks.
Each will receive $10,000 to build a warming hut that will appear alongside the Assiniboine Riverwalk or on the grounds at The Forks. Gehry Partners will also receive $10,000.
If any of the firms exceed that budget, they must find the funds on their own, MacKay said.
Previous competition entries have come from every continent on the planet except for Africa, said MacKay, who is pleased by the rapid response from the world's architectural community.
"What appeals to a lot of these architects and designers is they're dealing with snow and ice. For some of these people, it's not a terrain they've ever worked with. So, being in Winnipeg is part of the appeal," she said.
After a suspected arson destroyed a 2011 warming hut, jurors will scrutinize materials for the 2012 exhibition more closely, MacKay said.
A separate competition will be held for a fourth hut designed by architecture students at the University of Manitoba. Previous designs can be viewed at www.warminghuts.com
In other Assiniboine Riverwalk news, sections of the often-submerged walkway are now open around The Forks, Jordan said.