McDonough Unveils ICEhouse™, Designed to Illustrate Innovation for the Circular Economy, at Davos

ICEhouse was created by McDonough working with his firms, William McDonough + Partners and WonderFrame LLC. The McDonough team was invited by Hub Culture, a global collaboration network, to create the structure in Davos. The project was supported by and is a close collaboration with SABIC and also received support from SAP. It is the centerpiece of Hub Culture’s mission to welcome innovators and leaders at the World Economic Forum. Located on the main promenade at Davos, ICEhouse is made of aluminum and SABIC’s LEXAN™ polycarbonate sheet and systems. Shaw Contract Group provided flooring materials. The walls and roof structure were assembled in just a few days.

The structure has been designed to demonstrate the positive design framework described in the seminal book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things; the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, and the reuse of resources implicit in the circular economy.

After the close of the World Economic Forum, McDonough plans to locate an ICEhouse in Amsterdam, at The Valley at Schiphol Trade Park, The Netherlands’ new National Hub for the Circular Economy (for which McDonough is a partner and master architect). William McDonough + Partners architects has designed pioneering architectural projects, such the Park 20|20 development near Schiphol Trade Park — “circular buildings” and “circular architecture” — that are designed to embody the economic principles of the circular economy and quality inherent in Cradle to Cradle­-inspired design.

“ICEhouse is a structure designed for disassembly and reconstruction,” McDonough said. “In a poetic sense, like ice, it is ephemeral: It is here for a week, in the Alps. Next week it will melt away… destined to reappear elsewhere.”

ICEhouse also is an experiment in employing the WonderFrame™, which McDonough is designing as part of a broader vision for a simple structural system that could be erected with locally available materials (in any given location) quickly and to accommodate a range of uses. Of the WonderFrame concept, McDonough noted that it is “designed to help us find ways to utilize many kinds of affordable materials to create dignified buildings for people in a variety of situations. We are calling it ‘wonder’ because we want people to wonder what it’s made of, and ‘frame’ because it is meant to be whatever structure each community and culture may need, and constructed from whatever materials they have available in that place at that time.”

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