Form-finding and construction of ice composite shell structures

Yue Wu, Xiuming Liu, Qingpeng Li, Boxuan Chen, Peng Luo, Arno Pronk, Elke Mergny

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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By using inflatable moulds and then spraying cellulose-water mixture, one ice dome and two ice towers were built in Harbin in December 2016. During the whole process, form-finding of the inflatable moulds as well as the construction of these ice composite shell structures are very important for the final results.
The mould for the ice dome structure was a result of the manipulation of a synclastic membrane with a rope net. The mould for the ice tower structure consisted of some anticlastic surfaces. Form-finding of the inflatable moulds was conducted by the parametric tool “EasyForm” which is a self-programed plug-in in Grasshopper based on Vector Form Intrinsic Finite Element method.
In a low-temperature work environment (-10 ℃ and below), the ice shell structures were constructed on the inflatable moulds. The cellulose-water mixture was sprayed in thin layers continuously and uniformly in order to make the surface of a shell of cellulose-reinforced ice. The construction process is introduced detailedly in this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the IASS Annual Symposium 2017
EditorsAnnette Bögle, Manfred Grohmann
Place of PublicationHamburg, Germany
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017
EventIASS Annual Symposium 2017: Interfaces: architecture . engineering . science - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 25 Sep 201728 Sep 2017


ConferenceIASS Annual Symposium 2017
Abbreviated titleIASS 2017
Internet address


  • Ice composite shell
  • form-finding
  • Vector Form Intrinsic Finite Element
  • construction
  • inflatable mould
  • cellulose-reinforced ice


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