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gary roberts defrost1

Chicago’s Fulton Market Cold Storage Company was housed in a 10-story building in the meatpacking district for 90 years until last July, when they decided to move to a warehouse in the suburbs. The building was sold to bike component manufacturer SRAM to be converted into their world headquarters. Architects Perkins + Will were tasked with turning the ice-encrusted building into a modern machine shop, workspace, and indoor cycling track for SRAM. What ensued was one of the most epic building defrosts in history. Fortunately talented professional photographer Gary Jensen was there to snap some amazing before shots, a sampling of which are below. Head to his site for the whole mesmerizing set. The thawing was also documented in this timelapse video, spanning from 7 p.m. on November 8 to around noon on November 13. You get a flash of the large propane heaters they brought in to speed things up at the 24 second mark.

gary jensen photography

gary jensen photography

gary jensen photography

gary jensen photography

fulton cold storage

{via Colossal]

Goli Mohammadi

I’m senior editor at MAKE and have worked on MAKE magazine since the first issue. I’m a word nerd who particularly loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon as a whole. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for the ideal alpine lake or hunting for snow to feed my inner snowboard addict.

The maker movement provides me with endless inspiration, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. The specific beat I cover is art, and I’m a huge proponent of STEAM (as opposed to STEM). After all, the first thing most of us ever made was art.

Contact me at goli (at) makermedia (dot) com.



  1. That is crazy. I’m about to watch so I can see where all the water went.

  2. loki says:

    That’s really crazy but still amazing pics…Loved it……:)

  3. Arthur says:

    April Fools?

  4. Those are some lovely pictures.
    Kind of reminds me of you know who’s fortress of solitude ^^

  5. Geotek says:

    I hope they leave the door open, that would be one stinky refrigerator.

  6. mudslicker says:

    What? No Jimmy Hoffa?

  7. So Cool! Really….

  8. WOW! It’s amazing that the room was even functional with that much ice built up in it. If the freezer in my house had filled up like that it would be worthless. I’d like to see some pics of it when it was in use.

  9. Rahere says:

    They never dared film it when they thawed London’s Billingsgate fish market (frozen 1875, thawed 1982) as it was far from certain whether the only thing holding the building together was the ice.

  10. MrBenji says:

    I’m missing something… how exactly is this still frozen after being unused for so long? Does the construction somehow achieve 100% insulation from the outside temps?

  11. Kathryn W. Kemp says:

    Can anyone explain the various forms the ice displayed: wispy threads, rectangular crystals, etc. I think i get the stalagtite-stalagmite formations from thawing and refreezing.

  12. Truck Stops says:

    It is really awesome cold storage building.