Craft & Design
Epic Building Defrost

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]

24 thoughts on “Epic Building Defrost

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

Comments are closed.

I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

View more articles by Goli Mohammadi