Tires on Ice

Arts and Architecture Competition for interactive Warming Huts on Red River Mutual Trail
Manitoba Association of Architects
Winnipeg / Canada

“Recycling is down-cycling. They smash bricks, they smash everything. What we need is up-cycling where old products are given more value, not less.“ (Reiner Pilz)

Tires are among the largest and most problematic sources of waste, due to the large volume produced and their durability. The tire
stockpiles grow, seas of tires exist in dumps around the globe. But the same characteristics, which make waste tires such a problem, can also make them one of the most reused waste materials, as the rubber is very resilient and so it can be reused for other products and contexts. To draw more attention to the complex of problems with increasing tire dumps all over the world, we want to set an upcycling example. We use discarded tires as construction material for our warming hut 2014.

Concept of an Upcycled Structure
From afar it has the metaphorical appearence of a smoldering pile of embers, of glowing charcoal, offering protection and warmth, an inviting space, sheltered from the wind. “Tires on ice” is a ready-made artefact, an upcycled structure composed of discarded tires. The object is made of about 220 tires stacked and connected by steel bolts, forming a dome-shaped temporary architecture refering to traditional igloos. The tires are placed in patterns of overlapping positions. The vertical wholes of the stapled tires collect sunlight from above enabling an interesting illumination effect changing
during the day. Some of the tires are painted in orange to accentuate the structure. The tires can also be used as seating. Rubber and air have isolating qualities. Additional mobile seating is offered by a couple of inner tubes. They can also be used as snow fun toys.

Reusing the Structure
After the festival, the tires will be reused on children playgrounds of local schools and in public spaces of the City. Smaller units of tires can form structures for climbing, hiding and crawling. The playgrounds will be designed in workshops together with the children, encouraging their use of imagination and their sense of sustainability.

Upcycled Sounds
Different sounds characterize the soundscape of the skating trail. Some of them are obvious, others are smooth background noises filtered by layers of snow and ice. Several contact microphones are set inside and under the ice layer of the trail. They pick up hidden ambient sounds around the artifact and from Assiniboine River. Sounds of moving water, crushing ice, skaters creaking etc. The microphones are connected to a mixer merging and
amplifying the ambient sounds. The result is audible via headphones provided inside the tire dome. Passerbys can sit down and relax, listening to an upcycled sound-collage warming their ears.