Dartmouth alum brings Ice Chimes to campus

Union Leader Correspondent
January 23. 2013 10:58PM
Ice Chimes, sitting outside of the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center designed by architects Keith Moskow and Robert Linn, is on loan to Dartmouth College for winter 2013. Last winter it was installed at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston. (COURTESY)

HANOVER - Created to beautify the frozen landscape of a Boston park last winter, Ice Chimes is now on loan to Dartmouth College.

Boston architects Keith Moskow and Robert Linn created Ice Chimes for the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston.

Earlier this month, the 20-foot-tall weather-responsive sculpture that creates sounds from collected ice and snow was placed outside the Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center at Dartmouth.

Moskow, a Dartmouth alum, is thrilled the sculpture created to interact with the elements and capture the magical beauty of ice is installed at his alma mater this winter, though the weather hasn't quite cooperated. The structure needs cold temperatures and a lot of snow to perform as it was designed to.

In Boston last winter, it didn't really interact with the winter as it should since the temperatures were so warm, he said.

The sculpture has a canopy that catches snow and freezing rain; heating coils inside then melt the collected precipitation. The water drips down through the grid of holes onto suspended metal rods, forming icicles on the rods. The rods sway in the wind, clinking and chiming until the icicles break off and fall into the metal collection bucket below, which amplifies the sound and causes reverberations.

This winter is certainly cold enough, but there hasn't been the snow needed to create the icicles, Moskow said.

Water can be pumped into the top, but Moskow would rather not resort to that.

"Somehow that's kind of like lip-synching at the inauguration; it just don't feel right," he said. "What will happen, will happen because it's environmentally responsive."

Although Moskow, who lives in Norwich, Vt., is excited for the first heavy snow of 2013, "I will be very pleased when I wake up and there is two feet of snow on the ground. I know where I will go."

The name Ice Chimes is a bit of a misnomer, Moskow said. The sculpture really doesn't chime; it makes clinking, crinkling and tinkling noises. He knows because of tests he did in a walk-in freezer.

An engineer who helped with the project captured the function of Ice Chimes best.

"We were talking to our structural engineer, cause you've got to make the thing stand up, and he said, 'Oh this is just like Robert Frost's 'Birches.' And then he went on to recite the whole poem."

One passage of the poem really captures how the sculpture forms and breaks ice, Moskow said. "It really speaks just to what we were trying to do."


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