An international team of Dutch and Chinese students and professors from Eindhoven University of
Technology (TU/e), Summa College, the Netherlands, and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT),
China, realized the largest ice shell ever after two years of preparation. On 10 January the tower
will be opened by the Dutch ambassador in China.
An international team of Dutch and Chinese students and professors from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), Summa College, the Netherlands, and Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), China, realized the largest ice shell ever after two years of preparation. On 10 January the tower will be opened by the Dutch ambassador in China.
TU/e and HIT realized this architectural ice structure, the "Flamenco Ice Tower", in the ice capital of the world, Harbin. This Chinese city is well known for its international ice and snow sculpture festival. The ice tower is located at the Maple Village Outlet Company. The team improved the 2015 record of 21 meters to 31 meters in 2018. In previous years Dutch students realized in Finland various ice structures as well: the Pykrete Dome in 2014, the Sagrada Familia in Ice in 2015 and the Bridge in Ice 2016. Further, in cooperation with HIT they realized a small pilot of the Flamenco Ice Tower on the architectural campus of HIT China last winter.
The design of the Flamenco Ice Tower is based on the shape of traditional Chinese towers and the flamenco dress. The thin shell structure of 31 meters is made with an average thickness of 25 cm of fiber-reinforced ice sprayed on a huge inflatable. It is possible to build large thin shell structures by reinforcing ice by adding natural fibers such as wood fibers. These fibers make the ice much stronger and create a reliable building material. This sustainable, fully recyclable building material can be a solution for temporary constructions in cold areas, events or even Mars missions.
Photo by Qiyu
Using fiber reinforced ice brings a lot of benefits. Not only is the ice to 3 times stronger but it also becomes way though compared to normal ice. This makes it possible to create larger spans and work with thinner shells. Also the fibers will speed up the process of applying every layer. Cellulose also provides insulation.
For extreme temperature area like Arctic circle and Siberia, where is very hard to bring common building material to those area, if you can only use the material around that area and only cellulose which is very easy to transfer and it is the way of sustainability.
After the inflatbale model was taken out, the real beauty of the interior part of the tower reveals. Like in the classic cathedral, when sky light come across the small windows of dome, the certain senses of sacred shows up. It is unbelievable when you stand on the ice stairs and look into the top.
Photo by Maple Village
Photo by Qiyu
Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands Department Built environment, unit Structural design
Elke Mergny (Ulg)
Summa College Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Department Mechatronics
Jean Paul verhofstad
Hans van den Elzen
Bart de Miranda
Gavin van Turnhout
Harbin Institute of Technology, China, Department of Architecture
Harbin Institute of Technology, China, Department of Civil engineering
Maple Leaf Village Outlet company
Café d`n Ekker
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Beijing
Netherlands Business Support Office Dalian
Ice research center
IASS workgroup 21