Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Warming Huts Jury

 It is always an interesting mix when you have a group of artists discussing a project with some operations guys.

This past Saturday the warming huts jury, with nine established and creative architects and three operations people, met to select this year’s winning warming huts. Five huts needed to be picked out of 100 submissions from all over the world.

The day started early as the jury who hail from as far away as Halifax, Albuquerque and New York came together to start plowing through the stacks of drawings hoping that the winners would pop out right away. No such luck. This year’s submissions were of high quality. After three years of competition teams are starting to really go for it creatively.

The first cull by the jury took two hours and all they were able to eliminate was 25 submissions. The jury realized at this point that they were going to have to be ruthless if they were going to get it down to the top five by day’s end. Another cull and another ten were out.

The jury then broke onto three groups and were instructed to come back with their top five. After a few more hours they were down to the final fifteen. Now the debates began in earnest.

This is the point where the operations guys, including me, start to get really nervous. Although we can’t vote or influence the jury, we are going to have to try and build what they select. There was lots of nervous whispering amongst us as the jury got down to the final five. We agreed that as long as one particular entry didn’t make it we would be ok. Of course, it came in at number three and my brain started to hurt just thinking of how the hell we were going to build it. It’s going to be an interesting six weeks as we try and figure it out. We’ll give it a good shot and if it can’t be done we have two really strong alternates that we can default to.

The three entries that were selected are interesting this year. They will be far more subtle then past winners and all of them explore a deeper sense of winter and nostalgia.

As always I learn a lot about how other countries perceive us. Our climate, our tremendous isolation and the unbelievable uniqueness of building something that rests on a frozen temporary environment intrigues creative minds from all over the planet.

The Warming Huts v.2013: An Art and Architecture Competition on Ice is entering its fourth year. The entries chosen last weekend now go through a due diligence phase to ensure they can be built. Winners will be announced in mid November. 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Forks North Portage Blog

We have been talking about a blog for ages but haven’t gotten down to actually writing one.  So, here we are.  

The Forks Arial Shot by Dan Harper
As most of you know we have a lot going on around here and we have great stories to tell and ideas to share.  We will be discussing The Forks and the seasonal programming that takes place, sharing some stories about the North Portage neighbourhood, as well as what goes on behind the scenes.  Hopefully we can give our readers some insight on how we operate and what is important to us and ultimately to the broader community.

It is our intention to do a weekly entry. I plan on writing many of them, but our management group and even our tenants will be doing some of the pieces.  The upcoming entries will be diverse and cover a breadth of topics and subjects that are of interest to us and you.

Warming Hut Under Construction @ The Forks
Over the next few months we will discuss some of the headway we are making on our recent (2011) Ten Year Concept and Financial Plan. We have some significant planning challenges as we take a closer look at the Railside development concept identified in that plan.  It’s not only challenging from an economic and development perspective but we are very aware that the community has strongly held opinions on what should and should-not occur on that site. We need to make the economics work and do what is best for The Forks as a site as well as for the visitors.

We are also completing the downtown waterfront vision document and hope to have something to share at our AGM in late October.  This is a very exciting, albeit long-term, vision that we have been working on for the previous 18 months with the City of Winnipeg and other key stakeholders.  

There will be much to talk about as we plan for the winter programming at The Forks and we will provide an overview of the behind the scenes process that is underway for the now internationally recognized Warming Huts program.

We encourage our readers to share comments and opinions on what we write.  We want to start conversations on your thoughts and ideas on The Forks and other related downtown topics.  There will be future opportunity for guest blog spots,  and we are always interested in writing about topics suggested by our readers so feel free to contact us with ideas!

Written By: Jim August
 Chief Executive Officer