Ice Blanket

This is a copy of my design for the Art Shanty 2020 Call for Artists.

This is an interesting article of Strange Ice Formations

“Tell us about the shanty you would like to create. What is it called? What interaction or activities will take place inside or around it? What will a visitor to the shanty see, hear, do, feel or learn? “

When I participated in the Art Shanty two years ago, I was amazed at how alive the ice feels when you are out on the lake. The sounds of the ice sheets cracking, the water worm holes that appear on a sunny day, the intense cold and wind, the snow, and the frost. It is a very dramatic experience for the visitors who make the walk to the middle of the frozen lake. Not only do the cracks in the ice provide a maze of translucent lines below your feet but also along the shore the freeze and thaw of that warm winter provided lots of delicate geometric collisions. This is called ice stacking. I loved stepping on and smashing the ice crystallines on the shore.

The inspiration for the shanty that I designed comes from addition ice formation research. In addition to the shoreline stacking, icicles and snowflakes there are other strange yet distinctive ice formations. Abstract and impressionistic in appearance, other natural ice formations include; ice circles, penitents, rabbit ice, needle ice, frost flowers, snow rollers and pancake ice. From this research my design emerged. Many of the formation are affected by global warming.

The shanty will be a shelter that allows the visitors to interact with all of the ice formation elements. Images of these formations and possibly the real thing will be inside the shanty. This could be an educational experience for the visitors.

I am an architect and teach architectural design at Dunwoody Technical College in Minneapolis and the art shanty that I am proposing may be built with the help of the students from my class. In addition to the scientific information, I hope to offer the students and visitors a lesson in fabric structure design and detailing. 

The shanty is lightweight and flexible and wraps up visitors like a coat or blanket. The shanty starts as a flat blanket and then props into place by getting under the blanket and pushing it into a form. The shanty will have a protective layer of plastic triangle shields. The goal is to be able to construct it in minutes. There will be openings just large enough for children to crawl under and other openings large enough for adults to stand and walk through. I imagine that the shadows cast onto the snow will be very prominent.

The art shanty form was left abstract on purpose. Like a sculpture, is left open to interpretation depending on what you see in the forms. My hope is that the visitors can see many things including the forms of an igloo, a snowdrift, a futuristic ice castle, an outline of a polar bear. It is an attempt at embracing lightweight modern materials such as plastic/fabric to create something durable and startling on the lake. I think the exploration into fabrics and plastics will better help me understand if the “blanket” wants to be light and translucent or dark and cozy while at the same time a protective shelter from the elements.

Frost Flowers
Eskimo Woman

Vertex – Intersection of two lines

Ice Blanket Laying Flat- Model

Ice Blanket from Above – Model

Ice Blanket Elevation – Model

Ice Blanket Elevation -Model

Close up
small study models
possible material and connection choices

Brent Anderson showing me materials they use at Aerospace Fabrication in Farmington, Minnesota
Kevlar and Multi Layered Heat Shield
Heat Shield with Painted Metal Film and Hand Sewn Metal Thread
Beta Cloth plus Multi Layer Insulation Fabric Perforated
An Electrical Node for the grounding of a Metal Space Blanket
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