Just six logs keep this cafe warm and cozy in Buffalo, New York

Cafe Fargo in Buffalo, New York has no mechanical heating system. (Florian Holzherr)

Cafe Fargo in Buffalo, New York has no mechanical heating system. (Florian Holzherr)

Wintry Buffalo, New York is about the last place you might expect to find a building with no mechanical HVAC system. Yet that’s where a pair of architects fired up their custom-designed masonry heater, also called a kachelofen, which warms a contemporary cafe space by burning just six logs per day—even through a record-breaking winter where the average temperature was just 22.8 degrees.

Continue reading after the jump.

Twin Cities architects will pay you $5,000 to take this piece of the Minneapolis skyway

This defunct chunk of the minneapolis skyway is currently gathering dust. (citydeskstudio)

This defunct chunk of the minneapolis skyway is currently gathering dust. (citydeskstudio)

Minneapolis architects CityDeskStudio are sitting on an iconic piece of Twin Cities infrastructure. Almost a decade ago they acquired a defunct chunk of the city’s elevated pedestrian network, the Minneapolis Skyway. Years later they’re still wondering what to do with it, which could be to your benefit if you’re in the market for a 140-ton steel box designed by Ed Baker.

You don’t need deep pockets, either. In fact, they’ll pay you $5,000 to haul it away.

Continue reading after the jump.

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

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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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.

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Walkin by a Winter Renzo Land

East, East Coast
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
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The courtyard of the Renzo Piano-designed New York Times Building, utterly transformed by a foot of snow.

We’ve come to hate snow in the city, as it readily turns to gross, sock-soaking brown muck. But today, when we stumbled upon a scene straight out of Aspen, we were reminded just how beautiful and transformative the white stuff can be. Ducking into Muji for some last-minute holiday shopping on our way back from the Gehry theater press conference on 10th Avenue, we were delighted to find a mountain clearing where the courtyard of the Renzo Piano-designed Times building once was. From the birch trees to the unbesmirched snow, its the sort of sight you would struggle to find even in Central Park, let alone Midtown. Excuse us for getting sentimental—it must be the eggnog—but these are the sort of moments that remind us of the power and import of good architecture.

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