Cast Ice Tubes in Snowscape




Introduction: Cast Ice Tubes in Snowscape

About: Hello! I'm an architect and make new structures large and small, built and theoretical!


Weisman Art Museum Minneapolis, MN


Ice Pole was commissioned by the Weisman Art Museum for the opening of the 2014 photo exhibition Siberia: Imagined and Reimagined. Sited at the entrance to the museum, the installation served as an ice bar during the opening night, and a slowing changing winter scene that delighted campus walkers and museum visitors well into the spring.

Ice Pole is a landscape of ice and snow, with ice forms custom-made for varied social interaction and visual effect. Ice tubes of varying height create a continuous surface guiding program and movement across the snow, while large and small cylinders provide moments of rest through table top and sitting surfaces.

The installation was custom-fabricated with a team of students over the course of several weeks, and installed on site the day before the opening. Created outdoors in PVC tubing, Minnesota cold was utilized as a conceptual vehicle, building strategy, and guide for the life cycle of the installation.

Faculty Lead; Designer, Builder in collaboration with students

Step 1: Generate a Shared Vision

Step 2: Come Up With a Plan

Let it evolve.

Step 3: Make a Frame

Step 4: Fill Tubes With Water

We used plastic caps to hold the water in.

Step 5: Let the Water Freeze

Step 6: Don't Let a Spill Slow You Down

The weight of the tubes with water is tremendous. Make sure your framing can take lateral loads.

Step 7: Warm Up the Tubes

To speed up the process, you could use a heat gun, but we decided heating pvc tubes is not healthy! So we just let them sit inside for 10-45 minutes to warm up.

Step 8: Get the Ice Out of the Tube

This is easier said than done. A few tubes would slip right out, but most don't. It's easier if you take off the tube cap, and use a stick to push the ice out from the back. There will be some water, so you'll want to be in an area that can get wet. We placed the tube and ice on foam, so it was less likely to break as it came out.

Step 9: Marvel at Some Perfect Casts

Step 10: Stockpile the Tubes

Step 11: Repeat Until Hundreds of Tubes Are Cast

Step 12: Love the Misfits

Step 13: Experiment With Other Molds

We tried a variety of other plastic containers for other shapes, like this large garbage can. It worked great for standing tables, but they were heavy!

Step 14: Have a Mop on Hand

Step 15: Prepare the Site

Step 16: Transport to the Site

Step 17: Compose in Snow

We used a plastic sheet as a base, arranged the tubes how we wanted, secured them, created a snow barrier around the tubes, then poured in water and let it freeze into ice to create a sturdy base.

Step 18: Compose the Snowscape

Step 19: Make More Icy Things

We created ice cups made out of tonic that will glow under blacklight.

Step 20: Have a Drink and Enjoy the Party

Step 21: Watch It Melt

Be the First to Share


    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge
    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest
    • Big and Small Contest

      Big and Small Contest



    7 years ago

    fun idea for some scaled down 'yard art' when the snowman has worn out it's welcome. Thinking some RGB leds with a controller to make some fun patterns. Also if you have seen those 'icicle' lights that have chasing leds, maybe draping those in the tubes would be super wild.