Is there a bleaker place than Buffalo, New York, between now and March? The answer is no. Hell no. So in an effort to assuage the city’s monumental winter blahs, University at Buffalo assistant architecture professor Sergio López-Piñeiro will make a canvas of playful polka dots using the season’s most plentiful resource: snow.
López-Piñeiro is partnering with a local conservancy to plow snow in the parking lot of a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park into 15 mammoth mounds. Called Olmsted’s Blank Snow, the project turns an otherwise grim landscape into a whimsical work of art much as Robert Smithson transformed Rozel Point in Utah and Olmsted himself transformed cities all over the United States. (Olmsted is the landscape architect who designed Central Park, Prospect Park, and Buffalo’s vast park system.)
Buffalo gets a whopping 93.7 inches of snow a year. By February, López-Piñeiro expects the mounds will have amassed 7 feet of snow — big enough for sledding and, of course, epic snowball fights.
Is Olmsted’s Blank Snow a model for other blizzardy parts of the world? The university reckons so. Per the press release: “By transforming the snow that others consider a nuisance into something quirky and beautiful, his work could be an inspiration for other northern cities grappling with the inevitable.” Maybe, maybe not. We hate to think what New York City would do to snow piles like these.
Buffalo hasn’t gotten enough snow to start the project yet (hence the pics of a salt model here), but winter’s well on its way, so stay tuned for updates.
[Images by Sergio López-Piñeiro]