International multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy Buro Happold has been working with the Alaska Design Forum, in association with the International Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Anchorage Museum, to create an outdoor winter exhibition called FREEZE, in Alaska.
FREEZE, which opened on the 10th January and will last through to the end of February, will be an outdoor winter exhibition, with a series of public lectures and programmes, featuring designers (architects, artists, landscape architects, lighting designers, graphic designers and others) from around the globe collaborating on installations that feature snow, ice and light – the elements that characterize winter in the north. FREEZE will take place along the Delaney Park Strip in downtown Anchorage. The project has been led by Christoph Kapeller, principal of CK-Architecture, and artist Lita Albuquerque, with Buro Happold providing structural design.
The sculpture, by-lined ‘Like Oil and Water’, will take the form of an ice and snow table, supported on lumber 99-foot long by 45 inches wide, filled with water and an oil-like substance, which crucially is not detrimental to the environment. The ‘oil’ will float atop a container of frozen water, the elements together but apart, and the table was designed to reflect the precise direction of the sun at one minute past noon on January 3rd 2009 – the exact moment of the 50th anniversary of the State of Alaska. There is further symbolism in the choice of a table to represent a communal sense of coming together, while oil is compressed and liquefied life which both attracts and repels at the same time – as does ice. The interaction of oil and water will also create a rainbow effect of shimmering light.
“Polar regions are receiving increasing attention thanks to climate change and environmental awareness,” said Elizabeth Mahlow, Buro Happold’s lead designer on the project. “We are working with the Alaska Design Forum to create a homage to the Arctic and a celebration of winter, while also exploring and researching the structural properties of ice. The installations will be ephemeral, but we hope they will have a lasting impact.”
Structurally, the table will be supported on wood braces and compacted snow. The tabletop will be constructed in a similar way to concrete, and water will be poured into forms designed to accommodate expansion as it freezes. After freezing, the formwork will be removed to reveal the ice tray. The oil-like mixture will contain non-harmful antifreeze agents to ensure liquidity in the ice, as the ‘oil’ and frozen water remain together and yet apart.
Alaska Design Forum
Christoph Kapeller, CK Architecture
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Buro Happold is a multi-disciplinary international practice of consulting engineers established in 1976. We now employ over 1,700 staff in 21 offices worldwide, and our aim is to produce high quality engineering design in concept, in detail and in execution, on time, to programme and delivering excellent value for money. Our distinctive culture and ethos is still based on the same principles of care, value and elegance that were established when the practice was founded.
We offer structural, building services, civil, infrastructure and façade engineering, as well as a broad range of specialist consultancy services including sustainability, ground and environmental engineering, fire and security design, health and safety management, inclusive and urban design, project management, and specialist CAD and computer simulation provision.