Making of ICEHOTEL 26 starts

Wait is over! This week we have started building the 26th rendition of ICEHOTEL.  In a couple of weeks’ time, there will be 50 rooms, a church made of ice, the icebar and the event theatre, Aurora Hall.

The making of, step by step:

  • Snice is produced using water from the river, and mixing with natural snow.
  • Floor, walls and ceiling arches for rooms and corridors are cast.
  • Inner walls and doors are made.
  • Beds and pillars are added.
  • Lighting design, fire alarms (!) and ventilation is put in place.

– We have enough snow to start casting the main hall. To cast the building, we use snice, a mixture of snow and ice. The snice is hurled onto casting molds that are removed later, says Alf Kero, chief for the building crew, with a big smile. Winter has arrived late this year and the start is a couple of weeks late because it hasn’t been cold enough to make snice.

Huge blocks of ice, each weighing two tons, were harvested from the river in March and stored cool awaiting the building start. The architectural blueprints were completed in May and in less than a week, 42 artists from all over the world arrive to Jukkasjärvi to carry out their creative ideas and transform them into suites.

The basic form in the rooms and corridors is a classical, medieval arched construction, which is the structurally strongest self supporting solution. The strength of the vaults is evident in the melting process; never collapsing, but melting ever so slowly back into Torne River.
After the casting, room after room is filled with extra snow and ice in just the right amounts to make the interior and sculptures.

–  Right now, I’m sawing ice blocks into smaller chunks that are going to be building blocks for arches and bed frames. I work out the amounts and dimensions and then our saw can adjust the large blocks down to a millimeter, explains Niklas Byman, member of the building crew.

When the artists arrive, they can start realising their plans on the spot. Six weeks later it is complete – a river has changed its form and become art. 

ICEHOTEL no 26 is opening on December 11th for the winter season of 2015/2016. ICEHOTEL will start melting down in the middle of April. During this time daytime visitors are welcome between 10am and 6pm – daily.

A 26 year journey from an Igloo of 60 square meters to the world’s largest hotel of ice and snow at about 5500 square meters. Welcome to ICEHOTEL and Kiruna in Swedish Lapland!