Ice rink, Vienna
An ice hockey and skating rink in style
VIENNA (AT) - The Vienna-based architects Berger+Parkkinen made their breakthrough by winning the competition for the Nordic embassies in Berlin. Since then, they have demonstrated their skills with a few new buildings, including the expansion of an ice hockey and skating centre in Vienna. In fact, it was the first realized building by partner Alfred Berger, in 1994, from the time before the office of Berger+Parkkinen was established.
Now home to the Vienna Capitals, the Albert Schultz Hall has been expanded from a 3000-seat hockey centre into a more contemporary one, seating 7000 fans and spectators. It is now large enough to meet international standards. The centre also incorporates a completely new skating hall, seating another 3000, and the old training hall for juniors.
The expansion has been done in style. Inside the main hall it is almost impossible for a non-professional to notice that it is actually an expanded older building, where the old facade facing the underground station has been left intact. There are four new spectator sections in the corners, and the other side of the hall, under a new roof, seats thousands more, including VIP guests.
The hall has a completely new winter landscape-like roof and facade on this other side. Hidden behind its multi-storey glass walls are a new foyer, new spaces for the press and VIP guests, as well as other facilities. Additionally, the dressing and locker rooms and toilet facilities have been stylishly modernized, and the Vienna Capitals team has its offices in the building as well. The colours of the team have been used in a discreet manner: in the new skating hall the seats are lemony yellow, while in the restaurant/café the furniture is more colourful; likewise the dressing room and locker spaces for the public. Wood has been used in some places in the interiors, for instance for the VIP restaurant.
The building has a contemporary, cool elegance not very common in sports buildings. Especially the main hall, with its white/grey colours and a pixellated scheme for the seating, serves as a background for events, together with the colours of the skaters and the spectators and fans.
The new constructions are of concrete and steel; the V-shaped columns in the foyer are concrete, the outside supports repeat the same shape, but in steel. The new facade could even belong to a fancier public or cultural building. It is especially impressive at sunset and dusk.
In the spring there will also be some greenery and cherry trees planted on the small slope facing the housing area behind the extended building. The ice hockey centre serves the inhabitants of this nearby residential area quite well. The architecture is indeed pleasant enough for those who just want to enjoy watching the skaters and trainers from the café; thus the centre can be a meeting place. One is only left hoping for a better approach on behalf of the commissioner with respect to the area behind the new facade: why black asphalt? The architects had originally thought of something softer and more fitting.
Tuesday | 17 January | 2012 | Austria | Tarja Nurmi