Louise Downe

Modularity

A couple of weeks back I spent a few days in Saas Almagell, Switzerland. The brightest, most expensive place on earth.

Winters are harsh but bring predictably huge amounts of dry tourist-baiting snow to every surface.

With the addition of vast quantities of tiny, mouldable snowflakes - and some careful raking - roads are transformed from spaces just for cars into carriageways for multiple kinds of transport. Each night an enormous Snow Cat (pictured) restructures the roads and ski slopes with a car sized comb, cutting two deep grooves for cross country skis, and flattening another area for snowshoes and walkers.

All these uses are made possible by the modular mould-ability of snow. Tiny particles, stuck together to make any shape.

Does modularity have to ubiquitous to be usable?

Or does it simply have to be predictable?