The ICEhouse didn’t get its name from its appearance — although the polycarbonate material used in its exterior panels certainly makes it look frosty. The name stands for “Innovation for the Circular Economy house,” reflecting the designers’ aim to continually reuse and recycle materials rather than disposing them.
The building was designed using four primary materials: an aluminum frame, polycarbonate walls and roof, aerogel insulation, and Nylon 6. All of them are sourced locally, which helped aid the speedy construction. McDonough is one of the founders of Cradle to Cradle, and all of the materials used have either been certified by his program, or are in the process of certification.
If the building is dismantled, each of these products can be remanufactured into new products without any loss of quality, making the building completely recyclable. In the future, McDonough hopes to potentially explore alternate materials like plastics or bamboo for the frame.
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McDonough says there’s also another, more subtle meaning behind the name: “In a poetic sense, like ice, it is ephemeral: It is here for a week, in the Alps. Next week it will melt away… destined to reappear elsewhere.” And that’s certainly true — once the ICEhouse is done being exhibited at the World Economic Forum, it will be relocated to the National Hub for the Circular Economy inAmsterdam.
+ William McDonough + Partners
Images by Brady Johnson, courtesy of William McDonough + Partners