Following on a successful inaugural year, RAW DesignFerris + Associates, and Curio's Winter Stations Design Competition is back for another year to transform lifeguard stations along Balmy, Kew, and Ashbridges Bay Beaches into whimsical winter displays meant to draw Torontonians out of hibernation and back outdoors. 2016's theme of Freeze/Thaw asked artists to design immersive installations that reference our harsh winters, drawing in an impressive 380 submissions from local and international designers, of which just four have been selected to be displayed alongside three student designs between February 13th until March 20th.

“Winter Stations 2016 attracted brilliant ideas from around the world and it was agonizing to have to pick only four winners from an amazing field of 380 submissions,” Lisa Rochon, Winter Stations Design Jury Chair, declared. “Visitors will discover a feast of textures in the schemes, from vessels clad in charred wood to sailing rope to vintage furs. Inventive, playful and irreverent, all of the installations can be read like pieces of poetry on the beach."

The seven winning installations will be assembled between February 10th and 14th, will debut on February 15th, and will remain open to the public until March 20th. 


In the Belly of a Bear by Caitlind r.c Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee

Calgary, Canada

Created by three Calgary-based artists, this dark, spherical installation beckons the public inside via a wooden ladder. Once inside, visitors will find a plush fur interior where they can comfortably view the outside through a large, circular window.

In the Belly of a Bear by Caitlind r.c Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee. CaIn the Belly of a Bear by Caitlind r.c Brown, Wayne Garrett and Lane Shordee. Calgary, Canada

Floating Ropes by MUDO (Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche)

Montreal, Canada

This space will take the form of a cube of suspended ropes surrounding the lifeguard station. Through the porous exterior, visitors sitting in the lifeguard chair will be treated to views of the surrounding beach.

Floating Ropes by MUDO (Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche). Montreal, CanadaFloating Ropes by MUDO (Elodie Doukhan and Nicolas Mussche). Montreal, Canada

Sauna by FFLO (Claire Furnley and James Fox)

Kent, UK 

As the name suggests, FFLO's Sauna will feature a heated, partially transparent timber enclosure consisting of tiered seating that gets hotter as it gets higher. Solar powered lighting will illuminate the structure at night.

Sauna by FFLO (Claire Furnley and James Fox), Kent, UK Sauna by FFLO (Claire Furnley and James Fox), Kent, UK

Flow by Team Secret (Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh)

Toronto, Canada

Taking the Freeze/Thaw theme to heart, Team Secret's Flow takes the form of a 3D ice crystal built with digitally fabricated through slot-fitting wood connections. The design's loose bonds allow it to be reconfigured into various shapes, similar to the frozen and liquid states of water. 

Flow by Team Secret (Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh). Toronto, CanadaFlow by Team Secret (Calvin Fung and Victor Huynh). Toronto, Canada

Design concepts were also submitted by Ryerson University’s Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Sciences, Landscape and Design, OCAD University’s School of Environmental Design and Laurentian University's Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture. Three of these student entries will be featured at Winter Stations alongside the winning entries.

Student Finalists:

Lithoform by Ryerson

Toronto, Ontario

Project team: Remi Carreiro, Aris Peci and Vincent Hui, Associate Professor, Ryerson University 

Lithoform draws its inspiration from the lithosphere, Earth's outermost shell, and utilizes translucent multicoloured panels to create a light-filled refuge from the winter cold. 

Lithoform by Ryerson. Toronto, OntarioLithoform by Ryerson. Toronto, Ontario

The Steam Canoe by OCADU

Toronto, Ontario

Project team: Curtis Ho, Jungyun Lee, Monifa Onca Charles, Reila Park, Hamid Shahi, Lambert St‐Cyr, Jaewon Kim, Jason Wong and Mark Tholen, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental Design, OCADU

The wood panel exterior of this installation resembles an inverted, partially submerged canoe. At the rear of this simple shelter, evacuated solar tubes will create a fog around the structure by turning snow into steam.

The Steam Canoe by OCADU. Toronto, OntarioThe Steam Canoe by OCADU. Toronto, Ontario

Aurora Borealis by Laurentian University

Sudbury, Ontario.

Project team: Chris Baziw, Ra'anaa Brown, Trevor D'Orazio, Andrew Harkness, Matthew Hunter, Danielle Kastelein and Terrance Galvin, Director of Architecture, Laurentian University

This colourful, kinetic sculpture consists of LED lighting, welded aluminum, sewn fabric, and heat-responsive illuminated tubes that react to the touch of visitors, all of which will spin around the lifeguard station like a carousel.

Aurora Borealis by Laurentian University. Sudbury, Ontario.Aurora Borealis by Laurentian University. Sudbury, Ontario.

This year's selections were chosen by a jury consisting of Jane Hutton of Harvard University GSD; Alex Josephson of Partisans Architecture; 2015 Winter Stations winners Lily Jeon and Diana Koncan; Catherine Osborne of Azure Magazine; and 2016 Jury Chair Lisa Rochon, Senior Fellow, Global Cities Institute U of T and Founder, Friends of the Beach Parks.

Sponsors for Winter Stations 2016 include developers Great Gulf, Diamante Developments, Demirov Fine Homes, The Rockport Group, Fieldgate Homes, and Urban Capital, along with planning firm Bousfields, the Ontario Association of Architects, the Design Exchange and the City of Toronto

You can share your photos of 2016's Winter Stations installations by visiting our dedicated Forum thread