Tooling Ice and Sawdust

Elena VazquezJulio Diarte

Double curved formwork made from recycled materials for casting. Image: J. Diarte

Tooling Ice and Sawdust Structures: Experimenting with Natural Materials and Hybrid Digital/Low-tech Methods to Build Temporary Pykrete Structures.

This research project addresses the pressing need for sustainable alternatives in construction, particularly in Norrland, where imminent population growth necessitates eco-friendly building solutions. The study draws inspiration from historical practices of using snow and ice in construction and aims to advance the application of Pykrete — a composite of ice and sawdust both considered waste in Umeå —in creating long-span shell vaults for temporary structures. Unlike previous endeavors that relied on sophisticated infrastructure, this project will explore alternative low-tech building techniques using digital-based and craft-based methods and tools. The outcomes of this project could significantly contribute to circularity in construction, offering a blueprint for utilizing natural waste materials in innovative and sustainable ways.