ICEhouse is reassembled in the Netherlands


This week the ‪ICEhouse (ICE = Innovation for the Circular Economy) was‪ reassembled at the ‪Circular EXPO at The Valley, the Netherlands’ national hotspot for the ‪circular economy. The reusable building was first assembled in Davos in January 2016 for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, where William McDonough is the Chair of the Meta-Council for the Circular Economy.

ICEhouseTM was conceived by William McDonough as a place to gather and discuss the future of Innovation for the Circular Economy (ICE). The building is designed to demonstrate the positive design framework described in the 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.

ICEhouse shows what is possible when designs eliminate the concept of waste and instead add to the “resourcefulness” of a system—in essence, as William McDonough says, “putting the ‘re’ back in ‘resources’” which is the foundation of the circular economy.

Cradle to Cradle proposes that, as in nature, the “waste” of one system can become food for another. Everything can be designed to be disassembled and safely returned to the soil as biological nutrients or re-utilized as high quality materials for new products as technical nutrients.

ICEhouse is primarily made of three materials:

  • aluminum (the structural frame),
  • polymers (SABIC’s LEXANTM sheet and systems used for the walls and roof, Nylon 6 in the form of the William McDonough Butterfly Effect Collection carpet from Patcraft, and Kartell furniture and light fixtures), and
  • aerogel (Cabot Nanogel® is used as an insulation material within the LEXAN wall and ceiling system).

As defined technical nutrients, at the end of their use cycle they will be returned to industry and endlessly re-manufactured into new products with no loss in material quality. All of the materials are either Cradle to Cradle CertifiedTM or in the evaluation process to become certified.

William McDonough would like to thank Hub Culture, SABIC, and Delta Development Group for their support for the ICEhouse experimental prototype.


Learn more about the Valley on the William McDonough + Partners website here.

Learn more about the ICEhouse the William McDonough + Partners website here.

See more ICEhouseTM interviews and footage on William McDonough’s YouTube Channel.