Snowflake Tower

Prototype of Dutch Ice Tower for 2022 Winter Olympics wins first prize!
For next year, the idea is to create a 40-meter-tall tower using fiber-reinforced ice in the Chinese city of Harbin.
This tower will be realized in Zhangjiakou for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

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From the foundation up..

15 - 16 December

The first two days of preparations have started before the real printing begins. In order to keep the construction at the desired place, a timber foundation has first been made. The plates are layed at a timber beam to be able to adjust the rope net to the foundation. A walking bridge is placed over the construction to be able to print at the top side. At the second day the inflatable has already been placed correctly and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon the real printing could start !

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Constructing the foundation

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Sawing the right shape of the foundation

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Adjusting the rope net to the foundation

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The inflatable fully blown up

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Sawing the foundation

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Sawing the foundation

Printing the gridlines

16 - 17 December

After all preparations finally the printing has started! By using piping bags the ice mixture is printed on the grid lines. This process has to be repeated several times before the shell will be strong enough. In one of the final layers red LED strips will be placed at the grid lines to create a cozy effect.

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Foundation of the shell itself

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The first layers of ice printing

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The grid is fully printed

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Adjusting the LED strips to the construction

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When the lights are on..

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Final printing layer over the LED strips

The shell is standing !!

18 - 20 December

The inflatable has been deflated and the shell is standing! It can be concluded that the structural test of the construction has already succeeded, with which we are very glad! From now on the construction will be finished off to make it nicer. We even tested the strength of the shell in real life by standing on it! As can be seen, the structure can easily carry the weight of one person, which was surprising


Some articles have been written about this ice project and are publicated, which can be found using the following links :

People and organizations who contributed to the 3D printed grid shell

Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands Department Built environment, unit Structural design



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Arno Pronk
Elke Mergny (Ulg)

Irma Bouw
Tessa Ezendam
Naomi van Hierden
Daniël Jansen
Kamil Kara
Joren van Laar
Joris Vleeshouwers
Dominique van der Weijden
Hein Willems


Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Beijing
Netherlands Business Support Office Dalian
Ice research center
IASS workgroup 21