The last freezing phase of the current ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, but the residents of certain cities in the northeastern U.S. could be forgiven for thinking it has returned with a vengeance: Boston is in danger of buckling under the weight of 95.7 inches of snow so far this winter, and the urban landscape has been transformed into an anarchic playground in the process.
Indeed, the ludicrously cold conditions appear to have gone straight to the heads of the perishing public — our neighbors to the north have already developed a proof-of-concept for the eponymous locomotive of the 2014 post-apocalyptic thriller Snowpiercer. Some 2,000 Boston College students vented their frustration in a well-orchestrated snowball fight, while other citizens seem intent on doing more harm to themselves: Boston’s mayor had to issue a statement telling locals to quit diving out of first floor windows into snow, because “they could kill themselves.” Real talk.
So, how about thinking of some more constructive ways to utilize the vast swaths of snow and ice that have been piling up all around us? Here are six ideas to get you started — just make sure you wear gloves, ok?
Build With It
For architects, snow is manna from heaven. You can carve it, mold it, sculpt it, and stack it, and it is the most perfect shade of white: heck, its almost as cool as concrete. Check out our guide for building the perfect snow forts right here, and shape your frozen metropolis forthwith.
Get Lost In It
This normally would not constitute good advice, but in the case of PinPin Studio’s snow maze and playground in Kiruna, Sweden, it actually makes for a pretty magical experience. The walls are ten feet high and are constructed from a combination of snow and perfectly clear ice from the Torne River: sublime.
Draw With It
If you prefer the lighter touch, consider a little graphic design or fine art upon the surface. Artist Simon Beck uses some mind-boggling coordination to create these perfect geometric patterns upon the frozen lakes of Savoie in France, akin to the enigmatic Nazca Lines of Peru. Each piece is typically the size of three soccer fields, I kid you not…
Of course, There are some sculptures that only nature is capable of producing, with just the right combination of snow, ice, fog, and gale-force winds. These beautifully bizarre features are captured by storm-chasing photographer Marco Korosec, whose otherworldly images are entitled 'Ice Dragons.'
This is by no means a new concept, but if you’re architecturally inclined, I expect you to be absurdly ambitious: Take this 1:5 scale ice replica of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia by Eindhoven University of Technology students as the benchmark.
Kill It With Fire
If all of this snow is just too much for you, perhaps its wanton destruction can give you a morsel of comfort amidst the bleakness. Mechanical melting machines, otherwise known as "Snow Dragons," use a constant heat source that instantaneously transforms the white stuff into water and steam — and they can consume up to 30 tons of snow per hour.
It’s a tough choice, but whichever option you go with, it will probably be wiser than jumping out of the first floor window. You’re welcome.
The Angry Architect