Inflateble Dike Shed

Inflateble Dike Shed

Winnipeg, Canada
Project Year


stpmj as Architects

Constructed in large part by air and water filled tube dikes, Inflatable dike shed re-contextualizes the commercially available material options used to protect people and property from severe weather. The history of Winnipeg(Canada)'s relationship to its rivers exists in a fluctuating position of protection and enjoyment as the waters flow and freeze. The several major floods over the past years have temporarily elevated a few materials like sandbags and tube dikes to highly desired status. By only utilizing these materials during extreme situations they become identified with many negative connotations. We find it necessary re-interpret the tube dikes in the winter under a less demanding context. They still retain their initial protective function but only in shielding people as they enjoy beloved winter recreation. More interestingly inflatable dike shed reacts to two different statuses of ground, ice and water based on the changes of temperature. During winter, the embossed tube footing becomes a mold where the river freezes against so that the shell is interlocked and anchored to the ground. It is placed to maximize sun exposure in order to give skaters warmth with the heated-up air in the tubes. As temperature warms, the ice foundation melts and releases the structure floating on the river. During the summer time, the shell adds fun and coolness to the river and provides swimmers with shade.

A flattened tube roll (20’ long in 18” diameter) only weights 5lb in the volume of 3.5 cubic foot. Such size and weight allows the roll to be easily transported. Furthermore, the simplicity of the installation allows the tube to be assembled without specific tools or skilled labors. Inflatable dike shed provides a buffer and barrier for skaters and a buoy for swimmers within a light transportable structure while having the building provoke larger thoughts of optimism, ingenuity, and humor.

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