Every year for the past 25 years, the Swedish town of Jukkasjärvi has erected its famous ICEHOTEL. Built almost entirely from the ice of the nearby Torne river, the building begins to take shape in October and is ready for business by December. Fifty thousand people visit annually, many choosing to stay overnight in the rooms which maintain a balmy air temperature of 17ºF. The sculptural and often ornate design of the building's "art suites" is the work of handpicked artists from around the world, and is one of the most popular aspects of staying at the hotel. See photos from this year’s suites, and learn more about ICEHOTEL's construction, after the break.
The actual construction of the hotel requires eight weeks of work from a 100 man team, but the preparation for this process begins months in advance. In March, 1,000 tons of ice from the river Torne are harvested and put into cold storage for the summer. Come October, this ice is used to construct everything from walls to furniture within the hotel (the beds themselves are little more than ice slabs covered in reindeer hide). The main structure of ICEHOTEL is “snice,” a sturdy combination of snow and river ice—the 55,00 square meter building requires about 30,000 cubic meters of snice for its completion. This mixture is sprayed onto metal molds to create the vaults of the hotel.
This year, ICEHOTEL has 61 rooms within its icy halls, with 72 heated rooms separate from the main structure. Forty two artists from 11 different countries participated in the interior design of the suites. The building is expected to last until April, when the spring thaw will cause it to melt back into the Torne.