Red Blanket

Red Blanket installation blowing in the wind

Red Blanket was WORKSHOP’s submission to the 2014 Winnipeg Warming Huts design competition. The challenge was to create a warm, inviting installation that would function as an amenity for people walking and skating along the frozen Assiniboine River. The design needed to be rugged enough to withstand heavy public use and extreme winter weather.

“The experience of installing Red Blanket and immediately seeing people interacting with it was an excellent feedback loop that we don’t always get with architecture projects”— Thomas Petch

Red Blanket install with boom lift

Photo of visitor testing Red Blanket during installation

Our design was selected from over 200 entries, and the WORKSHOP team travelled to Winnipeg in January to help build the installation.

WORKSHOP team posing with Red Blanket during install

Against the stark white of a Manitoba winter, Red Blanket was easy to spot. The wall of thick felt panels could be seen by skaters from a distance. Close up, it offered protection from the prevailing winds.

Photo of skaters on the river with Red Blanket in the distance       

Each of the panels was made from a full single roll of bright red felted wool (6’ wide, 40’ tall) and hung from a metal rod affixed to the underside of the Historic Rail Bridge.

The scale was monumental, yet the experience was cozy: alone or in pairs, people could wrap the bottom ends of the panels around themselves like a warm blanket.

Graphic of Architizer A+Awards Special Mention 2016

The project was awarded an Architizer A+Awards Special Mention.
Two people wrapping themselves in the red blanket installation

photo: Ken Gigliotti / Winnipeg Free Press

 ”The write up said that the fabric is 'felted wool.' I decided to see if it really would work as a 'warm up' blanket so I grabbed one... you had to be quick about it with that wind yesterday... and I wrapped it around myself. It was stunningly good at stopping the wind and making it feel like a warm cocoon.”

—Online Comment
Client: Forks Corporation
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date: 2015
Team: Helena Grdadolnik , Thomas Petch, Leah Scherk, and David Colussi
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