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Lake Ramsey Skate Path Pavilions 2016

The pavilions on Lake Ramsey were the central project for the first year undergraduate design studio of the 2015/16 academic year. The studio was divided into four groups of 16 or 17 students who worked with their professor to develop one warming hut. Four were constructed in total.


Students were asked to design and build the hut for the skating path on the surface of frozen Lake Ramsey in the center of the city. Quality of craft through traditional wood joinery techniques was emphasized. They studied how an object as simple as a constructed resting place in multiple adds up to form a community of huts, creating a social network around ice skating.


Students were asked to be as efficient as possible with each of their design moves. They worked with materials in their 'natural' state with out applying any stains or paints in order to encourage easy reuse or recycling without producing hazardous waste. Connections were be planned for quick assembly and disassembly in the prefabrication process.


The design parameters for the pavilions were intentionally left open-ended for investigation. Very simply they were to be made primarily made of wood, have a floor plan size be between 3 m2  [32 sf] and no larger than 6 m2 [64 sf], and not exceed a budget of $1000, including the value of donated items.


Students were introduced to strict budgeting and following a critical path construction plan, which was carried out in the controlled environment school's new wood shop.


A vernissage was held on the ice upon installation with hot chocolate and hot cider to warm the minus 20 temperatures. The huts became popular spots for sending off selfies. People waited in long lines to experience all the structures on Family Day in February. This project was the first building design project in our four year undergraduate program. For many it is the first structure they have built.



Images and Plans

Technical Description

Shelters 1 & 2 were designed to be easily assembled and disassembled. The untreated materials available for future design/build projects through out the school's curriculum. Pedagogically the desire was to instill an understanding of building materials life cycle and not produce hazardous waste. At the very least the wood was to be reused as fuel.

Shelter 1 was limited to readily available 2 x 2's. Shelter 2 used primarily construction grade softwood 72 x 72 mm cross sections assembled and shaped from 2 x 4's. The joinery employed in both projects relied on traditional techniques. Students used the chisels and pull saws that are required by the school's program to fashion the joints. Shelter 1 relied on full scale hand made drawings. Shelter 2 relied on precise shop drawings made on a computer. Shelter 1 used mass and implied diagonal bracing for stability. Shelter 2, in images, will be used in a future introductory wood construction course to demonstrate fundamental structural principles. Its base is anchored into the ice to form a vertical cantilever for its main structural masts. Side elevations also depend on mortise and tenon joints to form a moment resisting frame with 90 degree corners of the structures benches and tables. Front elevations use off setting geometries for lateral stability.

The cut off from the built up 72 x 72 mm cross sections were woven through wood dwel to redirect light and wind.






McEwen School of ArchitectureLaurentian University
Project ImplementationCity of Sudbury
Material donationsEvans Home Hardware and building Supply
Material donationsHome Depot
Material DonationKelly Lake Building Supplies


Architecture 186 Students


Project Start:2015
Year of Completion:2016
Year of Demolition:2016
Life span:4 month(s)