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How designers are making the public realm feel like a private space

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An annual competition in Winnipeg asks architects to create their own interpretations of the “warming hut.” Located at the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, where every winter several kilometres of skating trails are groomed, the huts are simply defined as “a space to find refuge and shelter while you’re skating."

Colin Grover

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Winning entries this year include the Hygge House – designed as a kind of theatrical set piece. The brainchild of Winnipeg-based Plain Projects, Urbanink and Pike Projects, it literally breaks down the fourth wall.

Colin Grover

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With one side open toward the river, skaters can see people inside enjoying the wood stove, warm blankets and inviting furniture.

Colin Grover

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While Hygge is all about opening up to the public realm, Woolhaus – made entirely of felt – explores the interior experience of shelter.

Kristian Jordan

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Woolhaus

Kristian Jordan

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Surrey's new City Library has been described as a library of the future due to its many design features intended to enhance the visitor's interaction with the physical space.

Simon Hayter/The Globe and Mail

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Surrey's new City Library

Simon Hayter/The Globe and Mail

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Surrey's new City Library

Simon Hayter/The Globe and Mail

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People enjoy the sun as "Paris Plages" (Paris Beach) opens along the banks of the River Seine in Paris.

Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

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People enjoy the sun as "Paris Plage" (Paris Beach) opens along the banks of the River Seine in Paris.

Philippe Wojazer/Reuters

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Rotterdam-based Eddy Kaijser’s “urban living room” is a pop-up installation designed for urban spaces, parks and exhibition sites.

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Comprised of sculptural furniture pieces painted blue, it lends an intimate and hospitable scale to the public realm.

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A man rests on one of numerous giant pillows setup on a block of Robson Street closed to traffic between Howe St. and Hornby St. in Vancouver, B.C.

Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

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The temporary installation titled is "Pop Rocks."

Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail

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