Winnipeg, Manitoba, gets so cold in the winter--minus 20 degrees F isn’t unusual--they have to cobble together warming huts so folks skating along the Assiniboine Credit Union River Trail don’t freeze their tushies off in mid-layback spin. Good news for the skaters. Bad news for the poor, frosty saps who have to build those huts. So Mjölk Architekti, a Czech studio, has designed a shelter that could melt away construction times. That’s because you spray it on.
Yep, just like a fake tan. Only instead of some nuclear-orange dye, the spray is made of ice sipped from the ground of Winnipeg itself.
Here’s how it works: A pump with a sprinkler connected to a compressor and a generator settles down on the ice, perforates it, and starts slurping up icy river water. Aim the nozzle at an air-filled silicone inflatable, and spray; the icy water starts to freeze on the silicone’s surface. Once the water forms a smooth, stable ice wall, the inflatable is collapsed and carted off to the next spot. And there you have it: an insta-igloo.
Though how “instant” it is depends entirely on how far the mercury drops. “The lower the temperature, the better the freezing conditions, thus the faster the construction of a single hut,” Mjölk Architekti’s Vojtech Urban tells Co.Design. “We tested it in a freezing plant at 5 degrees Fahrenheit and it took about six hours to create an inch-thick ice shell. However, late January temperatures in Winnipeg may reach minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit--God save us!--so the construction would be quicker.”
Mjölk was one of five teams to win Winnipeg’s 2012 Warming Huts design competition. That included L.A. starchitect Frank Gehry, who proposed an abstract igloo of haphazardly arranged ice blocks. Mjölk plans to build--sorry, spray--one of its so-called Ice Pillows in Winnipeg on Jan. 20. Stay tuned for pics.
[Images courtesy of Mjölk Architekti]