If you’re wondering how a rainbow igloo popped up on a Herrgott Road lawn, you’re not the only one. In fact, several people have driven by, stopped and reversed to see St. Clements resident Jeremie Raimbault’s winter creation.“I saw it online somewhere and thought that would be a really cool idea. A winter project to take on, get me outside,” said the University of Waterloo civil engineering masters student this week.
It took Raimbault 60 days from the beginning of December to construct his winter bedroom – yes, like the Inuits of old he put the structure to use, spending a rather warm night in the thing. After brushing off Wednesday’s snow, the igloo took on a muti-coloured glow with its domed ceiling creating an almost cathedral-like effect.
Freezing some colourful ice was a first order of business. Long, wooden molds were built from plywood boards and water from an outdoor tap along with two litres of food colouring filled them. Once frozen, the ice was removed and cut to size to form the bricks. The igloo itself rests on a tarp base with blocks held in place by a makeshift cement of slush which solidified perfectly during the recent deep freeze.
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For the top blocks, Raimbault and brother Simon filled the inside of the igloo with snow to form a temporary support and then hollowed out the structure after the ‘roof’ froze in place. The project was purely for fun, though his engineering background didn’t hurt either, he admitted.
So how did a night under the ice go?
“You’re just warm and you’re fine. I had two winter sleeping bags and I had lots of layers underneath.”
The structure can require some maintenance. When temperatures rise, the ice melts and colour leeches out, so Raimbault has to add food colouring by hand in order to maintain the igloo’s vibrancy. It’s worth it, however, just to see it all lit up at night, he said.