Liège Ice Rink by L’Escaut – Weinand

'The whale's head'.

LIÈGE – L’Escaut Architects and Bureau d’études Weinand teamed up to build an Olympic sized ice rink in Liège, Belgium.

The project is in a former industrial site on the right bank of the Meuse. It is considerate of its impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. The building form and materials relate and assimilate into its industrial urban context, while maintaining the stringent insulation requirements of an ice rink. The façade acts as an acoustic barrier to reduce noise pollution to the surrounding residential neighbourhood.

The rink meets international competition requirements, accommodating 1800 skaters and 1200 seated spectators. Even with all the anthropomorphic heat produced, the rink maintains an ambient air temperature of 16 °C year round.

A ‘sea monster’ or whale metaphor – immediately readable on the façade – is carried through the project. Marine animal details are in the viewing deck (the whale’s eye), entrance to underground parking (the whale’s mouth) and the aluminium scales covering the façade (although whales don’t have scales, creative license is allowed).

The architects describe the project as a ‘public mammal’ that serves to ‘attract citizens and encourage them to skate’, giving the area a much needed landmark.

Photos courtesy of Marc Detiffe

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