an international team of dutch and chinese students and professors have realized the world’s tallest ice tower after two years of preparation. the flamenco ice tower is a record-breaking, 100-foot high tower made of ice created in the chinese city of harbin, ‘the ice capital of the world.’

images courtesy of structural-ice
photo credit: yi guan



the design of the flamenco ice tower is based on the shape of traditional chinese towers and the flamenco dress. in order to create the structure, the team – who form a research group known as structural ice – created an ice base before using it as the base for a large inflatable, providing the volume and shape for their design. the thin shell structure of 31 meters is made with an average thickness of 25 cm of fiber-reinforced ice which is sprayed onto the huge inflatable. once the inflatable has been sprayed it is taken out, leaving the shell in place and creating a cathedral-esque interior.

photo credit: peng zhao



building the large thin shell structure was made possible by reinforcing the ice with natural fibers such as wood fibers, making the ice much stronger and creating a reliable building material. the team hope the sustainable, fully recyclable building material can be a solution for temporary constructions in cold areas, events or even on missions to mars.

photo credit: peng zhao



the team of students and professors come from the eindhoven university of technology (TU/e), summa college, the netherlands, and harbin institute of technology (HIT), china. they intend to continue their work and cooperate in the realization of ice structures for the olympic winter games that will be held in china in 2022.

photo credit: qiyo


photo credit: maple village


photo: yiling zhou





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