When the snow finally comes to Helsinki (the rest of Finland is often white weeks before) the landscape totally reverses and ground becomes lighter than the sky. This and the holiday season puts me in mind of the ice hotel which I have been dreaming of visiting since going into a glacier in the summer (mer de glace). The ice hotel is rebuilt anew every year with 30,000 tons of snow and 4,000 tons of ice.Ice blocks are cut from the TorneÃ¤lven River in late autumn and the ice hotel gradually takes shape over the next few months. Other areas are made using snow canons to blast the snow over arched steel sections, the biggest being 5 metres in height and 6 metres across. Two days later, the sections are moved and are ready to use somewhere else. The ice pillars are then put in place to give extra strength to the self-supporting snow arches. The design is based on the architecture of the mediaeval cathedral. Temperatures in the icehotel vary between -4 to -9 degrees c even when outside temperatures drop below -30c.But by late april the suns rays begin to take their toll and by june the ice hotel has returned to its liquid state.
â€œwe have been developing architecture and construction techniques and observing how snow and ice react as a building material. It is not so often mentioned that Icehotel is in itself a work of art. Without direct reference material on how to construct an Icehotel, I began studying European cathedrals, applying the arch and dome forms to frozen water. Creating the worldâ€™s first Icehotel has been ground breaking in validating ice and snow as materials for art, architecture, and design. The forms over which the hotel is molded are based on the catenary arch, the shape made by suspending a length of chain between two points. The vaulted ceiling of the Ice Bar is inspired by the Basilique cathedral in Reims, France. After performing its duties for the winter, the spring sun slowly melts the temporary building and it returns back to the river.â€ Architect Ã…ke Larsson chief designer
This form of building is, at the cusp of a new year, somehow a welcome break from the never ending imagineering of the dubai projects that had often marked 2005.
The Icehotel,is in northern Lapland, Sweden, beside the River Torne 17 kilometres from the town of Kiruna.. About 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle. There is one in Canada too.