Finland to house sub-zero Sagrada Familia

Finland to house sub-zero Sagrada Familia
The ice basilica may lack the detail of Barcelona's unfinished Sagrada Familia but it will still be a sight to behold. Photo: Eindhoven University of Technology
A 40-metre model of Gaudí's emblematic Sagrada Familia will be built out of ice in Finland this winter. The Local talks to the mastermind behind this ambitious project.

“Our ice basilica will be finished before the real one in Barcelona, that’s for sure” says Arno Pronk, a leading Dutch architect leading the icy chef d’oeuvre building plans alongside two Eindhoven University students.

In late December, they will head to the small Finnish town of Juuka and kick-start the construction of their own sub-zero Sagrada Familia, hoping to having it completed within just five weeks.

“We need it to be -8 degrees C to be able to build,” Pronk tells The Local while describing how their building of the world’s biggest ice dome (30 metre diameter) last year was hindered by unusually mild winter temperatures.

“We use inflatables, between them we tie ropes and membrane structures and then we spray snow and pykrete all over, the second being a combination of water and sawdust that makes the structure even stronger than ice.”

Pronk and the two students, Teun Verberne and Jordy Kern, are looking to showcase yet again how pykrete can be an excellent and cheap building material for temporary structures ranging from ice hotels to seasonal agricultural storage.

“Of course, we’d also love the ice basilica to become a tourism attraction for Finland,” Pronk adds.

“We’ll need the help of 50 hands-on volunteers to make it all possible, everybody is welcome.”

So if you’ve grown tired of waiting to see Antoni Gaudi’s magnus opus finally completed and don’t mind putting up with colder temperatures than those of Barcelona, here’s the solution.

The following video shows how Pronk and his colleagues built the world’s biggest ice dome (30 metre diameter) last year:

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