Second Hinterlands Proposal Poses Urban Snow as an Asset, Not a Nuisance

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Second Hinterlands_NYC_2x

(Courtesy Natalya Egon)

Now that we’re well into this winter’s snow season in New York and elsewhere, Chicago-based designers Natalya Egon and Noel Turgeon offer up some inspiration for alternative means of dealing with the wintery accumulation. The duo calls for an approach to snow clearance more deliberate in nature than the hastily-formed soot-grey masses so often seen lining city streets. Their Second Hinterlands project advocates reshaping snow over outright removal, treating the snow as a material that can be used in the creation of interactive landscapes within designated urban areas.

Second Hinterlands_Aerial_o

(Courtesy Natalya Egon)

The building blocks of the proposal are the various landscape-types that one could conceivably construct out of snow. Having generated these categories, Egon and Turgeon then situated these forms, either in isolation or combination, in a variety of urban contexts in order to create innovative winter environments. In the words of the designers, such installations blur the traditional boundary lines of neighborhoods as “the softscape of snow meets the hardscape of the city.”

Second Hinterland_landforms_2x

(Courtesy Natalya Egon)

The design was selected as the winning entry in this year’s COLDSCAPES, an annual competition held by the Center for Outdoor Living. Fittingly known as COLD, the organization is an initiative of Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. The two other winning submissions from this year’s competition used slightly more conventional architectural materials in their plans for coping with cold urban climates.

Second Hinterlands_Moscow_2x

(Courtesy Natalya Egon)

Second Hinterlands_Helsinki_2x

(Courtesy Natalya Egon)

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