The Majestic Ice Arch

by Valerie

Charles Bunnell enjoys winter with a snowy friend. Photo by Valerie Schleich

One thing everyone talks about when referencing UAF is the weather. We live in Fairbanks, Alaska, so it makes sense that such an extreme part of our lives are always also on the tip of our tongue. Whether a seasoned Alaskan or a recent transplant experiencing 40 below for the first time, the extreme weather provides a ton of fun and unique opportunities at UAF.

Sorry about the finger in the picture, but this is the 2014 Ice Arch in all its glory. Photo by Valerie Schleich
 One of the coolest winter things that happen on campus is the annual construction of the UAF Ice Arch. Every year, UAF engineering students enter their design to the Ice Arch competition. Each contestant needs to submit calculations on the proposal to show that the ice arch will be stable and buildable. The winning design is chosen and a team works on constructing the design from the ground up! The Ice Arch sits in the circle of flags, in front of the engineering buildings on campus. They're beautiful!
2014 Ice Arch designed by Andy Chamberlain. Photo by Denali Critchett
Because each year is a new competition, with fresh engineers, the ice arches change dramatically from year to year. Engineering students experiment with architecture, building materials, and construction techniques. Here's a photo of the 2012 Ice Arch:

Denali heads to class with the 2012 ice arch in the background. Photo by Marina Critchett
The 2013 Ice Arch was made of Pykrete, a mixture of sawdust and water. The result is a more structurally sound building material. It looks a little different than pure ice!
2013 Ice Arch designed by Ryan Cudo. Photo by Todd Paris
To see more pictures of Ice Arches through the years, you can look at ASCE's website. ASCE sponsors the construction of the Ice Arch each year.

The Ice Arch adds a lot of beauty to the campus, especially in the frigid months. The competition is such a cool, student-run project!

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