The recent snowfall has brought a wave of reactions to what the Twitterverse has dubbed #Snowtober. However, amid a cold reception, one student saw the winter wonderland as an opportunity.
Civil engineering graduate student Bob Builder decided to use the snow as a chance to create his thesis project.
“My prof said the University of Calgary is all about innovation, so I’m making the most of these free materials,” Builder said.
Builder built a 14-foot-long sarcophagus — or, as he calls it, a snowcophagus — from compacted snow, between the Taylor Family Digital Library and MacHall.
The building process was sped up by Builder asking undergraduate engineering students to work on the construction for free, calling it an ‘unpaid internship.’
“I decided to look to the past instead of to the future. The world doesn’t need another Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos,” he said. “Let’s go back to the days when exploitation was overt, not covert.”
Builder modeled his sarcophagus after “that of Egyptian pharaoh King Tut.” He says it took him several hundred hours to build the sarcophagus.
“Sometimes I will work on and then sleep in the sarcophagus overnight,” he said. “The security around campus and I have a mutual understanding.”
Builder wasn’t sure whether or not the sarcophagus would see any actual use.
“I know people think it’s a little bit morbid to essentially build your own coffin, but I’m only using it until finals are over,” he said. “Then, it’ll just melt in the spring and my body can recover from what I expect will be a cryogenic freeze.”
The engineering student has received some criticism for his project.
“People have been sliding into my DMs to yell at me for not sharing my abundant sarcophagus space with those who want an escape from midterms,” he said. “I’m not going to let them mess with my vision.”
Builder continues to work at his snowcophagus. He hopes to add on a tomb by the end of the semester. His progress can be tracked via Instagram livestream.
Update: Despite Builder’s ambitions, the late-October sun had melted much of the snow. Still, Builder has high hopes for the future. He has changed his plans from a snow sarcophagus to a dirt pyramid.
“And this time it will be huge,” he said.
This article is part of our humour section.