Billings architects square off to design “warming hut” for Pioneer Park

Posted at 2:28 PM, Apr 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 16:28:38-04

BILLINGS — Wouldn’t it be nice if one of the most popular sledding hills in Billings had a place to warm up next winter?

While it’s only a theoretical project, Billings area architects squared off recently to design the best "warming hut” for Pioneer Park.

The Billings Architectural Association announced Monday on Facebook that there was a tie in the contest to design the structure.

The design by Corey Stremcha and Trae Schwenneker tied with one from Adam Feldner.

Stremcha and Schwenneker, architects in training at Billings-based firm CTA, won with their design called the “wigwarm,” which is a modern take on the wigwam and teepee-style structures.

"We really focused on indigenous architecture and how people of the planes used to erect and disassemble their dwellings," said Stremcha.

"We wanted to create a modern version of the teepee, something a little more artful and creative,” said Schwenneker.

Their design was also influenced by famed Montana artists.

“Even the way we rendered this with the oil painting and hand done fill, we wanted to make it feel as if it’s part of the west,” said Stremcha. “We drew from artists like Charlie Russell.”

According to the contest rules, the task was to design a movable warming hut, which would serve as a place to warm up between sledding runs and beautify the park.

The warming hut is meant to offer protection from the weather and serve as a landmark for the sledding hills, according to the rules. It should also help beautify the park.

The entries were evaluated by a jury, which determined seven finalists.

The designs were then reviewed for final judging at a Meeting in the Mountains held Friday.

Stremcha and Schwenneker said they would love to see their design come to life, but even if it doesn’t, the contest is a way to flex their creative muscle.

“It’s good to keep on your toes with some sort of avant-garde architecture, more creative that might be risky for some of our clients to take on,” said Stremcha.