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Here's the Man Behind the Wacker Drive Igloo (No, He's Not Homeless)

By David Matthews | January 6, 2016 11:09am | Updated on January 7, 2016 8:51am

This igloo at Columbus and Wacker drives first caught the attention of news crews Tuesday night. (DNAinfo/Dave Matthews)

DOWNTOWN — An igloo built on Upper Wacker Drive has been pleasing and perplexing passersby.

Made of big ice blocks and constructed around a streetlight, the approximately five-foot-tall igloo appeared sometime Tuesday night, when freelance news photographer Pauley LaPointe spotted it on the median at Columbus Drive:

The man behind the igloo isn't homeless, but he says he's glad his artwork is having the desired effect — clearing snow and ice off the sidewalks and bringing attention to Downtown buildings that fail to do so.

David Sudler poses with his igloo on Wacker Drive.

David Sudler, 58, lives near his igloo in a Wacker Drive high-rise. He says he was inspired to create a snow-centric spectacle by the unshoveled crosswalks around his neighborhood.


"I clean these spots for the doormen, and the snow doesn't have anywhere to go," said Sudler, who's a fixture at the Engine 13 station on Columbus Drive, where he regularly clears snow from the block in front of the firehouse. "I'm tired of seeing people do face plants."

Armed with just a chisel, shovel, and salt, Sudler said he began his work around New Year's Eve and built the igloo over two nights. He lifted the ice slabs, some of them weighing up to 80 pounds, himself and used a milk crate to stack the snow on the igloo's "roof."

Sadler did his work at night, when there's less traffic on the busy thoroughfare.

The igloo, which was still standing Thursday morning, quickly captured the attention of local media and others, who speculated about its purpose.

He said he plans to pick flowers in Lincoln Park this week, lay them in the igloo and spend a night in his creation, though it's unknown how long it will stay. A spokeswoman for the city's department of streets and sanitation did not immediately return a message seeking comment. 

Sadler says he once spent 16 days sleeping in snow caves in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, so staying in an urban igloo is "fun" for him.

[DNAinfo/David Matthews]

Security at the nearby Swissotel and an office building at 303 E. Wacker Drive said they hadn't seen the igloo until Wednesday morning, when news media were photographing it.

Thursday morning Sadler was back on Wacker Drive "beefing it up." He spoke with DNAinfo Chicago about his reasons for building the ice sculpture, and his philosophy on unshoveled sidewalks Downtown:

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