In response to the International Ideas Competition for the Bering Strait, Lateral Office‘s Mason White and Lola Sheppard (also some of the minds behind the excellent infrastructure blog InfraNet Lab) created a proposal that is part infrastructural response and part ecological. The Bering Strait, for some obvious reasons, is a difficult site to work with logistically, but also represents an interesting temporal and spatial connector between two continents in the east-west direction as well as a marine highway from the north to the south. The two components of the proposal – an Ice Park and an occupiable mobility structure – attempts to address these two directional interests.
Straddling the international date line, the seasonal Ice Park will not only serve to create an ecological zone for native animals, but also harvest ice floes in order to index global climate change. The architects further describe this section of the proposal:
“The intent here is less to impose a new landscape in this context than to emphasize the sublime conditions already existing. Currently, the Bering Strait is a seasonal barometer of the impacts of climate change. The intent with this scheme is to offer spaces with which to reflect on the correlation between natural environments and their occupation.”
The infrastructural tunnel/bridge element more directly connects the two continents by extending existing railways and other infrastructure, in addition to a UN Headquarters. While I find the second part of the proposal less compelling (though imagining frigid UN members is amusing), the Ice Park with its synthesis of ecological, climactic, and social agenda is a thrilling idea – though it did not win the competition.