Amazing ice castles | Daily News

Amazing ice castles

In 1993, while rummaging through a junk shop in Vienna, Austria, artist Oliver Croy made an extraordinary discovery - hundreds of beautiful, handcrafted architectural models each neatly wrapped in rubbish bags. Croy was so attracted by the skilled workmanship that he acquired the entire lot - nearly four hundred of them.

Croy found out that the models were created by man named Peter Fritz, who worked as a clerk at a Viennese insurance company. Nothing more was known. Who Peter Fritz actually was, or why he made them, and how it ended up in a junk shop.

Ten years later, Croy exhibited his find for the first time at the Venice Art Biennale for a show entitled “The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz”. The buildings compose a “near-encyclopedic inventory of all manner of provincial architectural styles, from farmhouses to bank buildings, churches to traditional single family homes, villas to gas stations,” writes Designboom.

Each piece was clearly the result of hundreds of hours of painstaking labor driven by what must have been a flaming passion. Each model was built from a combination of easily available materials, such as cardboard, matchboxes, wallpaper scraps, adhesive foil and magazine pages.

It is believed that Fritz made these models during the 1950s and 1960s, based possibly on existing buildings. Designboom speculates that the models could be part of an extensive model train set that perhaps Fritz was building.

The collection has been exhibited at various locations around Europe the past two decades. It now resides in the Wien Museum, Vienna, Austria.

“We fuse the icicles in formations – vertically and horizontally – where we intend for the towers and walls to grow,” says Christensen. “We start on the ground and as each layer collects more ice and thickens we add layer upon layer until the structures grow upwards of 20-35 feet tall.”

“Since the process of adding new icicles involves the spraying of water, everything is melted and frozen together so that the structures are basically one solid piece of ice.”

Ice Castle began in 2008 when he built an elaborate skating rink and slide in the front yard of his home in Alpine, Utah, for the entertainment of his kids. He formed his company a year later and built his first large-scale Ice Castle at Midway’s Zermatt Resort.

Since then he has created ice castles all over the United States and Canada. More than 750,000 people have visited his ice castles so far.

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