Igloo - building with water crystals in compression

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 03/03/2010 - 14:36.

igloo and web image of flintstone house burlingame

The  recent snows in the North East Ohio area have stimulated children (and perhaps adults, in the case of the very cleanly expressed example in the image above) to creative play involving no commercial components. 

Ice has about zero strength in tension, so this igloo relies solely on compression of the snow for its stability.  If this dome/parabolic shape were used for lightly reinforced thin skin concrete structures in re-building efforts in Haiti, would the resulting structure have adequate seismic resilience and be hurricane tolerant?

Construction of a concrete igloo could be very inexpensively done with the use of inflatable forms and shotcreting.    Even dirt can be used for the form - and then removed from the inside of the igloo after the concrete has been applied and cured.

Can you imagine a Caribbean "village" of igloos all painted in bright topical tones! 

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igloo-and-flintstone-house.jpg32.66 KB
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why not?

Mike Reynolds is designing and will build the first Eartship in Florida. They were built in Southeast Asia, and a friend is living in one in New Zealand. Though the tsunami did not materialize, the NZ folks felt well protected from any stormy weather in their earthship. And no heating cooling or electricity bills either!

Architecture students in Alabama built a chapel using rammed earth and car windows.

Lot's is possible when we get over our ideas of what a "home" look like.

They couldn't be made of ice, obviously, but they would be in step with Cool Runnings.