The ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ project  started in march 2014 initiated by two master graduation students (Jordy Kern & Teun Verberne) and their tutor (Arno Pronk) from the Eindhoven University of Technology. The project is a continuation of the ‘Pykrete Dome’ project in which the ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ project team also participated. For more information about the ‘Pykrete Dome’ project please click here.



The ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ project team will be accompanied by a group of master students from the Eindhoven University of Technology from September 2014 until January 2015. Other students from other universities or volunteers are welcome to participate in the project and can contact us by using our contact information.






Ice is a well-known material, but as a building material it is quite uncommon. The goal of the project is to realize an ice structure which is based on the design of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The design will consist of several domes. One dome will have a height of 30 meters, which will be the highest ice dome in the world.


In order to achieve such heights the use of reinforced ice will be needed. A mixture of wooden fibers and plain ice will result in an ice-composite, so called pykrete, that will be three times stronger than plain ice. Along the use of wooden fibers the use of textiles and ropes are also investigated to be used as a reinforcement for the ice structure.


The construction of the ice structure will start in the last week of December 2014 and will be finished in the second week of January 2015. The 'Sagrada Familia in Ice' will be built in the municipality of Juuka, Finland.






The inspiration for starting this project came during the realization of the ‘Pykrete Dome’ project. Each master student that participated in the project had to design and construct a side project. The design with frozen textiles and the design with a frozen reticulated net structure appeared to be perfect for a more freeform ice structure. This resulted in the collaboration between Jordy Kern and Teun Verberne.



Both the side projects of Teun Verberne and Jordy Kern were inspirited by the work of Heinz Isler, who is known for his work on (ice) shell structures.




The Design of the ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ is based on the design of the real Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudí. For more information on the Sagrada Familia please click here.


The Sagrada Familia is designed by a model with suspended chains, which is better known as catenary design. A suspended chain or rope will always get the shape of a smooth curve, meaning that the chain is only subjected to tension and absolutely no pressure.

If the curve of the chain is turned upside down it means the shape is only subjected to pressure and absolutely no tension. The principle of catenary design can be very interesting when building with ice, because ice has very low tensile strength.


The design of the ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ consists of the big tower with a height of 30m (34m with cross), the nave with a height of 12m and the four towers of 21m (2x) and 18m (2x).


Click on the dots for more information!




A step by step walk-through of the construction process.




Like the ‘Pykrete Dome’ project the ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ will be constructed using reinforced ice. An ice-composite (pykrete), a mixture of wooden fibers and plain ice, will be used to give the ice three times more strength.


The nave of the ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ will be constructed by freezing suspended ropes and  textile fabrics. These ropes and textiles will  be like a mold and will also act like a reinforcement for the ice. This technique has been often applied in small ice structures by Heinz Isler.



The ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’ has to be built in a region where it's cold enough to construct an ice structure. Juuka, Finland, is one the coldest regions in Europe with temperatures ranging from -15 ⁰C to -30 ⁰C in winter. These temperatures are perfect for constructing an ice structure like the ‘Sagrada Familia in Ice’.


The ice structure will be built on private property owned by Tulikivi, world’s largest manufacturer of heat-retaining fireplaces.


Address of building site:

Tulikivi Oyj

Joensuuntie 1226

83900 Juuka, Finland


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