Only in Minnesota, where many are cold, but few are frozen, would an art project invite innovative thinkers to build temporary ice-fishing shanties on a lake in below-zero temperatures. The Art Shanty Projects, Minneapolis, Minn., holds an annual event to build new, engaging public art in relatively unregulated public spaces—like a frozen lake in February. NewStudio Architecture, located in White Bear Lake, Minn., took up the challenge in 2014. The small architectural firm blended creative design elements with a fish-house aesthetic and community engagement in the form of a Curling Club.
The shanty, constructed on a steel-framed base, featured three wooden walls and one wall shrink-wrapped with commercial marine polyethylene fabric (used to wrap boats for storage or transportation). The fabric covered nine computer-cut plywood ribs attached to the floor joists and the shanty roof. After sealing the fabric wall with white plastic tape, it was heated with a butane torch to provide a tight wrap. To make the shanty weather-tight, NewStudio Architecture sandwiched a sheet of clear PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified) inside each of the three framed walls, added indoor/outdoor carpet tiles to the floor, and bolted the structure on a steel skid so it could be dragged onto the lake.
The shanty’s “landscaping” consisted of an accurately painted curling sheet, where those touring the arty, entertaining shanty town could learn how to play the winter sport. The Curling Club served as their warming house.