Skip to content

Igloo building in the middle of the campus

Published: 1 March 2019

The students on the course snow and ice at Luleå University of Technology are working with building the snow igloo in the middle of the university campus in Luleå. The purpose of the project is to learn how to construct a snow building. The igloo is built using an inflatable igloo tent, which is 6 meters in diameter and 4.5 meters high and which is clad with snow to create a snow igloo. When the snow is frozen, the tent is emptied of air and removed.

– Of six possible projects, we chose to build snow igloo just to learn how to construct a snow building. It's fun because we also build igloo for the jump competition LTU Big Air which will be April 6th. The audience will be able to go in and warm up and drink coffee or tea there, so it feels great that it will also be used. From the beginning we would build two igloos. The second igloo would stand next to the ramp and be used as a varm up cabin for the skiers but it is a very heavy job so it is not certain that we will build igloo number two, says Mirco Schilling, student on the course snow and ice.

The Snow igloo will consist of a room that can accommodate 10-15 people. The interior is wooden floors and seating with recessed lighting in the walls and a small bar counter. The students don't think the outside may be as nice as tthe inside but hopefully it will start snowing so that the igloo becomes white and fine. Maybe there is also the possibility to fix to the outside with lighting. When the snow igloo is ready, the students will evaluate how the design deforms and the snow's strength changes over time by taking snow samples that are then run in the test lab.

– It is becoming increasingly common with the snow buildings and therefore it is important to know how to construct a snow building from a safety point of view but also design-wise, says Victoria Bonath, Research Assistant and Project manager, at the Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering at Luleå University of Technology.

She also tells us that the students have done a very good study of snow constructions and, among other things, studied other snow buildings such as Iglootel in Arjeplog and Igloo in Åre. Another preparation has been to learn how to drive a snow blower. Driving a snow blower is not always that simple, especially when you want to have the snow in a certain place and factors that wind in. You can't just drive straight ahead, you have to constantly change the angle of the discharge pipe - and find the right one. Then you also have to learn how to change the breaking pins, which are used when overloading.

The question then is what has been the biggest challenge for the students with the igloo project.

– The biggest challenge has been the weather. The snow is different depending on the weather and the snow can be different even though it is taken from the same snow pile. When it was plus degrees, the snow tied better, today when it is freezing snow is the snow and we get to stand and hack loose the snow to fill the snow blower and we also notice that the snow blower is blowing considerably less snow today. The weather, on the other hand, has been favorable for outdoor work, says Mirco Schilling.

– The most fun thing about the project has been driving a snow blower, he concludes and laughs.


Victoria Bonath

Victoria Bonath, PhD Student

Phone: +46 (0)920 492934
Organisation: Building Materials, Structural and Fire Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering