The new Olympic Ice Rink in Liège was recently completed in December of 2012 - and oddly it resembles a beached whale laying on the city's streets. Located next door to Ron Arad's Médiacité shopping mall, the Liège Ice Rink was designed by L'Escaut Architecture. Covered in hundreds of thousands of aluminum scales, the energy-efficient building keeps cool with the help of a high-performance envelope and cooling equipment inside.
The Olympic Ice Rink of Liège provides new facilities for hockey, ice skating and leisure activities. Located next to the Médiacité, the bulbous building has 1,200 seats and a surface area of 6,700 sq m capable of hosting international competitions. During construction the building’s timber frame emerged in the shape of a whale and is covered with 200,000 aluminum scales. Inside is the large rink, seating, a cafeteria, storage, skate sharpening and a viewing lounge. The seats were actually salvaged from the former ice rink in Coronmeuse.
To maintain a constant 16 deg C temperature and the perfect quality of ice, a number of energy efficient systems were implemented. The exterior has minimal windows in order to create a high performance envelope with an insulation factor of K22, which is equivalent to a passive house envelope. Two 1 MW refrigeration units are coupled with 4 sets of air coolers, and a ventilation system with a flow rate of 60,000 m3/h for dehumidifying the air of the rink. Energy is reused wherever possible through heat recovery and a connection to the heating system of the shopping centre next door was installed in order to carry away part of the generated heat. This has yet to be done, but will make both buildings more efficient. Liège’s whale-shaped ice rink has premium facilities and an energy efficient design to provide an enjoyable time for all visitors.
Images ©Marc Detiffe