China Boasts World's Tallest Ice Structure


China is now home to the world’s tallest ice shell structure. Students from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and the Harbin Institute of Technology have worked to erect the 100.1-feet-tall structure that opened to the public last week in China’s Heilongjiang Province.


The “Flamenco Ice Tower” was designed to look like a flamenco dress and, at the height of a six-story building, is 32 feet taller than the team’s last structure, which was put together in 2015.

The key, reports say, is that the ice is fiber-reinforced, (That is, mixed with natural fibers such as wood.) This makes it three times stronger than plain ice. Cellulose provides insulation.

To construct the tower, a balloon was first inflated in the shape of the structure’s interior. Then, the reinforced ice was spray-applied onto the balloon in an average thickness of 25 centimeters. Once everything had settled, the balloon was deflated, leaving the intact sculpture behind.

The team hopes to perfect this technology to build buildings for events such as the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. This method is also a more sustainable construction template to cold areas, and is even able to assist with Mars missions, according to Structural Ice, the research group associated with TU/e.

The sculpture is slated to remain standing throughout the entire Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, which runs through Feb. 25.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Building Envelope; Building materials; Design; Design build; Spray systems

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