Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA), 1971

The first of two projects that entailed “working” buildings by means of ice, exploiting the exceptionally low temperatures typical of the continental climate in places like Minneapolis, concerned a large abandoned school located in a park, which was awaiting conversion or demolition. Water was poured over the walls and, freezing during the night, completely covered the building with a coat of ice. In this way the appearance of the architecture was maintained, and yet dematerialized since a new natural element was laid over the original material of the façade. In a way this “statement,” which would be repeated in works of the same period, asked the material used for building to retain its natural state and not to become a construction material. The school preserved its typology, the typical form of that typology, but once coated in ice it was the material that transformed it: it came alive, for it had been worked by nature.