Designed by FaulknerBrowns Architects, the $40 million Lee Valley Ice Centre in London will feature two Olympic-sized ice rinks and use ice from the facility to benefit the sustainability and biodiversity of the building site. Along with sustainable design features like high performance insulation and rooftop solar panels, the facility’s melted ice will be filtered through reed beds to create new wetland habitats onsite.
The design, which will replace an existing 36-year-old single rink, is pending second-round approval from the Greater London Authority. If the project does get approved, it will double the center’s capacity to 557,000 visits per year, providing more community access and complementing the surrounding Lee Valley Regional Park. The 26-mile-long park comprises 10,000 acres and a mixture of diverse heritage sites, natural reserves and award-winning gardens, along with another Olympic-sized venue also designed by FaulknerBrowns.
The building site is in an important region for nature conservation, so the design team remained aware of the responsibility to preserve the unique, natural character of the area with the smallest possible environmental footprint. Their response was a pavilion-like structure that uses a heavy base plinth on the lower portion of the elevation to anchor the building to the flat landscape. The base forms a podium under the ice halls, which are insulated with cladding panels to create two environmentally controlled “fridges” that are wrapped by a copper-colored metal band. This band is separated from the plinth with a flowing, curved edge to create the illusion of a building floating within the landscape.
The Lee Valley Ice Centre has also been rotated from its previous position to allow natural movement through the green spaces and to create a more welcoming gateway to the neighboring marsh. According to the architects, this reimagined position plus the proposed landscaping design with native plants and melted ice filtration system will result in a biodiversity net gain of 35%.
Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects