Seven teams of artists and designers have been selected to convert the lifeguard stations positioned along the shorelines into temporary pavilions. They are the winners of the annual Winter Stations competition, which was set up by RAW Design, Ferris + Associates and Curio in 2015 to encourage Toronto residents to enjoy their snowy winter landscape.
This year, artists and designers were asked to respond to Ontario's harsh winters under the theme Freeze/Thaw. The seven structures will be installed around lifeguard towers along Toronto's Kew, Scarborough and Balmy Beaches.
"The public participation in Winter Station's inaugural year proves that even the most overlooked winterscapes can be injected with vibrancy and life," said Ted Merrick of Ferris + Associates. "Our ultimate goal for year two remains the same – to encourage the community out of hibernation and back to the beach."
A large sphere clad in charred timber and lined with fur is a collaboration between Calgary-based artists Caitlind RC Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee. Called ‘In the Belly of a Bear’, the structure features a small porthole, where visitors can enter the structure to seek relief from the cold.
"Juxtaposing a dark, charred aesthetic against the bright, stark landscape, ‘In the Belly of a Bear’ invites the public to climb up a wooden ladder into a domed interior lined densley in thick, warm fur," said the artists.
"Within this cosy, warm space, visitors can find reprieve from the cold outside or gaze out the large round window pointing towards the lake," they added.
Lengths of rope will be suspended from a frame around another lifeguard chair to create a sheltered viewpoint for visitors to admire the frozen landscape. The design called ‘Floating Ropes’, was created by Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche of Montreal architecture collective MUDO.
Claire Furnley and James Fox from Kent landscape studio FFLO aim to bring warmth to the blustery, lakeshore location with their ‘Sauna’ installation. Inside, visitors will be able to perch on heated tiered seating and take in views of their surroundings through the structure's transparent walls.
"Its transparent exterior walls allow walkers-by to get a glimpse of thawing bathers within, with solar powered lights illuminating the structure at night," said Furnley and Fox.
Aiming to capture the transition between freeze and thaw, graduates Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh will create the ‘Flow’ shelter made from spiky 3D-printed elements based on ice crystals.
Three of the designs come from architecture, design and landscape departments of Ryerson University, OCADU and Laurentian University.
A group from Ryerson University have devised a faceted structure featuring coloured shards based on frost formations. The brightly coloured pieces included in Lithoform aim to "create a reprieve from the harsh winter winds."
"The structure's cleverly designed fissures create a polychromatic cavern of filtered light around the lifeguard station," said the team.
An up-ended canoe formed the inspiration for OCADU's wooden shelter, which creates a dome over one lifeguard tower. Solar tubes at the back of ‘The Steam Canoe’ will convert snow into vapour to emit a halo of fog.
Tubular lights will be hung from a welded aluminium frame to recreate the lights of the ‘Aurora Borealis’ in Laurentian University's design. The lights illuminate as visitors approach the structure and change in response to body heat.
"Aurora is a kinetic sculpture that hovers above the lifeguard station like a spinning chandelier," said the group.
The structures will open to the public on 15 February to coincide with Family Day and remain in place until 20 March 2016.
"Visitors will discover a feast of textures in the schemes – from vessels clad in charred wood to sailing rope to vintage furs," said Lisa Rochon, who chaired a jury including Harvard professor and landscape architect Jane Hutton, Alex Josephson of Partisans Architecture and 2015 Winter Stations winners Lily Jeon and Diana Koncan.
"Inventive, playful and irreverent, all of the installations can be read like pieces of poetry on the beach," she added.
Images (top to bottom): The Steam Canoe by a group from OCADU; Aurora Borealis by a group from Laurentian University; Floating Ropes by Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche of MUDO; Belly of a Bear by Caitlind RC Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee; Sauna by Claire Furnley and James Fox of FFLO.