ICEhouse™ Davos, Switzerland


William McDonough + Partners and McDonough Innovation showcased a new structure in Davos in conjunction with the 2016 World Economic Forum annual meeting. ICEhouse™ (Innovation for the Circular Economy house) was designed to demonstrate the positive design framework described in 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.

Working with Hub Culture, a global collaboration network, William McDonough conceived ICEhouse, which was designed by William McDonough + Partners Architects, and built by WonderFrame, LLC. The project was supported by and a close collaboration with SABIC.

“ICEhouse is a structure designed for disassembly and reconstruction,” said William McDonough, who serves as Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on the Circular Economy. “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.”


The ICEhouse, Circular Economy and Cradle to Cradle 

The ICEhouse is primarily made of four materials: aluminum (the structural frame), polymer, aerogel, and Nylon 6. These four materials are assembled in ways that allow them to be easily disassembled and reused in another location. As defined technical nutrients, at the end of their use cycles they can be returned to industry and endlessly remanufactured into new products with no loss in material quality. They are all either Cradle to Cradle Certified™ or in the process of becoming certified.


The WonderFrame™

ICEhouse also is an experiment in employing the WonderFrame, Mr. McDonough’s broader vision for a simple, flexible structural system that can be erected quickly and that is made of locally available materials wherever WonderFrames are deployed. The patent-pending structure is comprised of simple elements connected using simple tools.  This special Davos version uses aluminum for the frame material, but research is currently underway for using other feedstocks as well such as plastics and bamboo.  The walls and roof structure were assembled on-site by a crew of four workers in just a few days; the entire structure was completed in nine days.

ICEhouse™ is a trademark of McDonough Innovation.



William McDonough + Partners: Architects

Hub Culture: Collaborator & Davos operations partner

SABIC: Cladding Material Supplier