Snow Bank

winter rendering with snow storage units

by Diana Guo (MLA I ’21), Runke Luo (MLA I AP ’21), and Yuning Zhang (MLA I ’21) — Winner of a 2020 Applied Arts Award

“Snow Bank” is a multi-scalar, community-based response to reuse snow for district cooling in East Boston by extending the lifetime of winter snow to be used during the extreme heat of summer. On the regional scale, snowstorms are growing more unpredictable in intensity as the climate changes while hot summers are increasingly unbearable. On the local community level, neighborhoods must come up with a rapid snow management plan that clears roads efficiently to allow equitable access to public transportation and protect their hydrological systems from severe snow meltwater contamination.

site elevation with details showing snow removal plan

summer rendering with people using snow storage unitsWe seek to redefine the public commons through shared responsibility and redistribution of snow from a state of urban waste to one of valuable resource. Our team proposes an acupunctural network of snow storage inserted into the landscape that collect snow during cold seasons and emit cool air in the summer. The insertions correspond with above-surface landscapes that offer alternative spaces of public gathering and recreation. While each move is acupunctural, the larger effect becomes visible as a new shared commons emerges from the city fabric.