Michaela MacLeod

Michaela MacLeod

Toronto, ON, CA


hotbox for winterstations

An ice house is a traditional architectural typology used in northern climates to provide shelter while ice fishing on a frozen lake. In its simplest form, it is a temporary structure constructed from plastic tarps and draped over two-by-fours. The building’s purpose is not only to give protection from low temperatures and high winds, but also to facilitate what has become a social activity in many Canadian regions. 

HOTBOX mimics this typology and heightens the contrast between inside and outside, allowing visitors to experience warmth through visual, auditory, tactile, and associative means, while acting as a catalyst for social exchange during Toronto’s Winterstations Festival. Entering from the harsh landscape through a cold, dark, rubber exterior, one finds themselves in an insulated, soft, muffled and light-filled space that conjures feelings of shelter, intimacy, quietude, and a sense of respite from the often-unforgiving Canadian landscape. Where traditional ice houses enclose a hole in the ice, HotBox is centered round an oculus that permits a solitary view to the sky and lets light and snow fall silently within. 

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Status: Built
Location: Toronto, ON, CA
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Designer-Nicholas Croft