As part of the Festival of Arts, Science and Technology earlier this spring at MIT, third-year architecture student Yushiro Okamoto designed and built IceWall, a temporary installation facing the Charles River. Okamoto wanted to create an installation that would be both visually interesting but also leave a lasting legacy after the festival was over. IceWall is a series of frozen blocks embedded with seeds and stacked on top of each other in a curving spine. As winter turned to spring, the wall would melt into the grass leaving seeds behind to germinate and bloom.
Back in January, Okamoto, with the help of Kian Yam, froze large blocks of ice embedded with flower seeds. The blocks were then stacked into a long, head-high spine in an open space on MIT’s campus near the Charles River. At night special lighting came on to illuminate the translucent ice wall and cast an icy blue hue onto the landscape. The wall remained standing and braved more snow, wind, and cold, which eventually transitioned into rain and sun.
The wall has gradually melted away, soaking into the grass below, and the seeds came closer and closer to ground, until eventually the ice melted completely away leaving only seeds. These seeds will work their way into the ground, germinate and bloom later this spring to continue with the celebration of MIT’s 150 anniversary. Okamoto’s goal was to build something that would leave a lasting legacy after the installation was over and these spring flowers are certain to achieve that.
Image Credits: Andy Ryan, George Lin, Huang Li, Yushiro Okamoto