The Ice House

Hello, in my pursuit of a beautiful island with the intention of building my future edification, I found this pearl that I want that you know… it’s the Cook Island, which is the southernmost of the islands called “the South Sandwich Islands” and which is being disputed by two countries: the United Kingdom and the Republic Argentina… maybe I, Rodolfo, I win them! Mind you, due to its geographical situation is completely frozen, this is not a handicap to build, do not believe me? You keep reading…

In places like this I feel like Frank Sinatra, “The voice”, singing “Stranger in the night”, it is a very nice feeling, very similar to that touches me in the christmas of this year, and is that I have decided to spend the good night surrounded by the fiercest enemy of mankind: the ice, don’t believe me? This is that you never have heard of the ICEHOTEL, and with him, of the material that you would have never imagined as a construction element: the ice.

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The Tenth Stop: The Ice House

The occasion is unique since this year marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of this Hotel, in Sweden, I cannot remember the name of the village… could it be Jukkasjärvi? The hotel is built every year due to the “curious” property which has this material: it melts with some heat, but this makes it even more interesting and unique. This same property allows (or forces, depending how you look) to the owners of the IceHotel hire each year to the builders and the different artists to build up this place, a detail, you do not lie twice in the same bed.

For lovers of the data, we can say that the Icehotel occupying over 5,500 square meters and 1,000 tons of ice from the Torne river are required for its construction (selected between March and April and stored in cold, obviously, until the moment of its use), are also used 30,000 tonnes of “snice”, a mixture of snow and ice that strengthens the structure (particles of ice from the Torne river with air “snice” that resembling snow because is white and is used for insulation, mind you, the snice is stronger and purer that snow). The building is built between October and December of each year and takes approximately eight weeks to be completed, the preparatory and subsequent works take six weeks each period.

The artists are a part of the construction process since it is half of the staff, this year has been artists from Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Japan and Argentina, among others. We take into account that these artists have to plan before, during and after construction work, so it they must live with the work, but their real Prize comes next, with the opening of the hotel to the public.

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As curious (it seems to me) the owners of the place have protected the Icehotel and their structures by the law of rights of author of Sweden, although here among us, I don’t think that there is so much competition worthy of concern…

Of course, as it could not be otherwise, the Icehotel offers all kind of inconceivable activities elsewhere: see the North light in snowmobile, dogsled, looking out the window of a plane the spectacular white landscape, skiing in the Swedish mountains, something to do, seeing the whales that gather in Norway in the autumn. Icehotel also offers modern meetings, conference and exciting events throughout the year. They organize product launches, concerts and major events… whatever it takes to the client!

Snice

The ice, as we all know, it is water frozen at very low temperatures, and the water is one of the few materials that if it freezes it increase their volume and decrease its density. It is distinguished by being white or colorless vitreous, transparent, with conchoidal fracture and have a hardness of 1.5 on the Mohs scale (to get an idea is between talc and gypsum).

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Due to the unique characteristics of the ice, the construction is very specific, it is build of oval shape to make easier the transmission of stress and, ironically, more fluid. It is a lightweight material, so not going to worry much by the foundations, and we will not have to worry by the “damps” (sorry… I could not avoid the joke!). When the ice melts, the building not collapses; it is a beautiful phenomenon: walls become gradually thinner and more transparent, making the light take place in a more direct way.

The snice is an intermediate product between the snow and ice. Its use is as mortar between the blocks of ice as it strengthens the structure and allows the elements will not collapse more quickly. It is white, soft and melts in the mouth.

I leave you with the healthy envy that defines at humans and I promise that I will enjoy of a very intense Christmas… and white! Bye bye.

 

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