Ís Garden

Combining the ancient tradition of ice harvesting with contemporary digital fabrication

  • Type Civic concept commission
  • Location Omaha, Nebraska
  • Status Concept
  • Date 2010
  • Collaborators

    Min | Day, FACT

The Ís (ice) Garden is a design proposal for a temporary public space made from ice located on the artificial lake in Gene Leahy Mall in downtown Omaha. Commissioned by the Omaha World Herald (Omaha’s daily newspaper), the Ís Garden is a series of 2 open courtyards and 8 closed “domes” conceived as social gathering spaces as well as the site for a pop-up restaurant featuring winter foods prepared and served outside by local chefs. The project combines the tradition of ice harvesting with contemporary digital fabrication procedures.

Working with various Archimedean solids and other polyhedra such as the truncated icosahedron (ie. the classic soccer ball shape), we developed a variety of large bowl-like courtyards and smaller domed vessels. Each polygonal wall section becomes an extruded solid, cut from blocks of ice. These blocks are cut with a cooled mill attached to the arm of a 6-axis portable robot. Blocks are stacked with a hoist and sealed with “snice”, snow-ice mortar.

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Conceptual plan: spaces of various developed from a circle packing algorithm

Solid surfaces derived from a multi-facetted spherical polyhedron - here using a combination of hexagons and pentagons

Solid ice blocks cut from the pond are then shaped by a robotic mill

On-site milling of the ice blocks follows

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