adapted submarine system proposes to re-freeze the arctic with hexagonal 'ice babies'

adapted submarine system proposes to re-freeze the arctic with hexagonal 'ice babies'

as part of an international design competition initiated by the ASA (the association of siamese architects), faris rajak kotahatuhaha, denny lesm ana budi and fiera alifa have been awarded 2nd prize with their project that proposes to re-freeze the arctic. just as reforestation in tropical and sub-tropical regions helps to restock depleted forests and woodlands, the idea behind the submarine architecture investigates how to respond to melting ice caps. focusing on prevention rather than a cure, the design team’s proposal seeks to restore the polar ecosystem by re-freezing sea water that has melted into new ‘ice fields’.

perspective view 1

all images courtesy of faris rajak kotahatuhaha



coined by the design team as ‘re-iceberg-isation’, the system proposes to release what is called an ‘upnormal freezer’ each month, which is basically a freezing vessel. measuring 25 meters in diameter, the adapted submarine system is designed to be used in all weather conditions thanks to the bulb shape of the bottom part of the vessel.

perspective view 2



typically, the ‘upnormal freezer’ will stay floating in the sea. the submarine then sinks beneath the surface to collect water. once inside a hexagonal cast, the fresh water and salt water is divided. upon completing this desalination process, the top lid closes to retain the cold temperature. within a month, a new hexagonal-shaped ‘ice baby’ is released. repeated over time, the process is imagined to create as many ‘ice babies’ as possible, with each one inserting itself into the larger ice sheet thanks to the regular hexagonal shape.

perspective view 3


diagram 1 – problem vs idea

diagram 2 – sinked area after ice melt

diagram 3 – program

floorplan 1

floorplan 2


main image



project info:


project name: ‘re-freeze the arctic: re-iceberg-isation hexagonal tubular ice arctic’

type: 2nd prize in the ASA (the association of siamese architects) international design competition 2019

design: faris rajak kotahatuhaha, denny lesm ana budi, fiera alifa


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom

  • If the ice melted once … since the atmospheric conditions haven’t changed … what prevents this new ice from melting again????

  • Another interesting solution is to build floating barriers to avoid the warm sea water from melting Greenland Ice sheets.

    Julian D Hunt says:
  • 1st assume 10 million dollars….

    This is dumb beyond belief, one would need to power this thing with a nuclear reactor (or a 500 KW diesel system). A maintenance crew is needed, plus their food, etc.c with periodic visits via an icebreaker. What’s the “carbon footprint” of this monstrosity?

    Why not plant 100,000 tree’s?

    theCase says:
  • I’m sorry. It is fine and good to recognize student work for its noble pursuits and technical achievements but there comes a time when you have to say “that’s nice”, pat them on the head and then point out that the idea has no merit.

    -Desalination and refrigerant-based cooling require energy. According to the laws of thermal dynamics, the net result of these processes is waste heat. In other words, since the machines use energy they spit out even more heat than they take out of the water. These machines would have a net effect of LESS polar ice.
    -Desalinated ice in salt water will resalinate and melt. This is precisely how using salt on snowy/ icey roads works. The desalinated “Ice babies” would melt even faster than the iceburgs around them.
    -If you made a million ice babies I suspect that would only be “a drop in the bucket”
    -The problem isn’t lack of ice, It’s excess heat (purportedly)
    -Why exactly would people be on board one of these things?

    Students: This is beautifully presented. However, you really need to investigate the science behind such a project. The premise is entirely without scientific merit.

    ASA: What are you thinking? Promoting work of this kind only helps prove the idea that architects have no idea what the hell they are doing. The notion that we can re-engineer the world without knowing anything about it is absurd.

    David says:
  • This project gives designers a bad name. High school physics and chemistry should give one the knowledge required to see this is silly. Design is not dreaming. Design is a careful and methodical creative process. Further, why would you put the ice cubes in the ocean instead of land, not even considering inefficient process of making ice? 10 minutes on a search engine would have provided calculations showing how absurd this is.

    Jim Bleck says:

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