Despite the 60-degree temps in the Northeast indicating a complete collapse of civilization, other parts of the world are experiencing winter the old-fashioned way: you know, with the elusive substances ice and snow. People have been turning these cold-weather materials into homes for tens of thousands of years now, of course, but modern interpretations are built less from necessity and more, well, for the fun of it. Take Hôtel de Glace in Québec City. The 36-room hotel changes designs every year (one firm wins the commission in an annual design contest) and stays open from January through March, during which time guests can make of the ice bar and cafe that converts to a chapel. It's the only ice hotel in North America and consists of a staggering 15,000 tons of snow and 500,000 tons of ice.
? Two weeks ago, China unveiled a massive, bright-colored, historically and architecturally accurate miniature ice city at The Yangqing Ice Festival, held in honor of the Lunar New Year. In a move indicative of either supreme architectural confidence or supreme disregard for human safety, children were permitted to clamber all over the icy buildings.
? Located in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, ICEHOTEL was the first hotel of its kind to open in the world and one of a few of its kind in Scandinavia. Built in 1992 on the Torne River, the hotel is made from 10,000 tons of ice, 30,000 tons of snow, and sprawls 30,000 square feet. It's designed to accommodate 100 guests and has an exhibition hall for "ice art," a movie theater, a chapel, and the famed Absulut Ice Bar.
? The Chena Hot Springs, situated 60 miles from Fairbanks in the Alaksan interior, is most famous for its mineral pools and views of the Northern Lights. Yet also on the complex is the Aurora Ice Museum, made from 1,000 tons of ice and snow by 15-time world champion ice carver Steve Brice (a member of the National Ice Carving Association) and his wife, Heather, also a world-class ice carver. The Ice Museum stays open year round and has intricate art and carvings throughout, all lit up in the psychedelic colors of the Aurora Borealis. Plus, there's an ice bar.
? Everything down to the cocktail glasses is made from ice and snow at Norway's Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, a 30-room lodging near the Alta River. Thankfully, beds are covered in reindeer fur and the bathrooms are heated by the same mechanism that heats the adjacent sauna. This, like many of its ice hotel compatriots, has a chapel, a gallery, and—obviously—a bar.
? Toward the end of last year, the German village of Mitterfirmiansreut erected a church out of snow. Eighty-five feet long and 21 feet high, the building accommodates 190 people and boast sculptures, an altar, and pews all made out of ice. In all, the chilly project cost $168K and 49,000 cubic feet of snow.
· Hôtel de Glace [official site]
· Bored of Regular Building, China Constructs City From Ice [Curbed National]
· ICEHOTEL [official site]
· Sorrisniva [official site]
· Inside the German Snow Church [Curbed National]