Physical white space

“We are conflicted about snow in cities. With the first storm of the season, the city becomes silent, bright and spatially renewed — the snow absorbs the sounds of traffic, reflects the low winter sun, and makes irrelevant the signs that warn “Keep off the grass” or “Stay on the path.” Yet we react to the new-found peacefulness by combating the fresh snow, by salting roads and sidewalks and revving up noisy plows and diesel blowers. In cities we constantly push around the snow — we move it out of our way, shovel and plow and mold it to ease our commutes and comply with regulations. It is contradictory: we react to the serene landscapes of new-fallen snow with loud and mechanized aggression.”

These images of unintentional snow landscapes, of landscapes blanketed with whiteness, resonate with my current design research project — an exploration of what I call “blank architecture,” or architecture that might initially seem blank, but that can be spatially and/or psychologically appropriated and transformed by users. The goal of this photo-documentation is to show how standard plowing techniques can become creative tools for generating winter landscapes and in this way spark a new public appreciation for snow-blanketed urban spaces.

To me, I call them physical white space. Firstly, they are tangible spaces where we can visibly see and have the awareness of their existence. Secondly, they are visually white.
Maybe in theory, they are the counteract of the true meaning of white space, which I thought white space represents an emptiness or something subtle/in silence. Well, this is definitely another take on the meaning of white space.


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