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BIG’s Ice Rink Melts Boundaries Between Indoor and Outdoor

Bjarke Ingels Group designed an ice hockey rink in Sweden that uses the natural landforms around it to create a hybrid structure that’s literally “inside out.”

BIG’s Ice Rink Melts Boundaries Between Indoor and Outdoor

Talk is cheap, and so are architectural concepts: Public works are notoriously difficult to execute well, so you’ll have to excuse us if we don’t fall all over ourselves about pretty drawings. And yet! These designs for a public ice rink in Sweden look innovative and realistic, taking natural landforms into account and creating a delightful hybrid structure that’s part indoor, part outdoor, and totally gorgeous.


Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, the 4600-square-meter rink in Umea will sit in a bowl-shaped plot bisected by a built structure with a turfed roof. The indoor/outdoor interface created by this structure is a huge glazed surface that “acts as the ‘eye’ towards the outside.”

Half of the big scooped-out cupola will be open to the air — BIG’s concepts show a winter wonderland of sledding kids and strolling couples — while the other half will be underneath the green roof, housing a formal rink for hockey games and casual stadium-style seating around it. But that big open “eye” will flood the whole interior with natural light. “The result is an open landscape where the inside and the outside meet seamlessly,” BIG writes.


BIG intends their design to be multipurpose as the seasons change. Other uses they’ve built into the site include a sculpture garden, an amphitheater for music or plays, a bonfire pit, and a slide for, well, sliding, I guess. (Those Scandinavian socialists… so playful!) If/when BIG pull this off in reality, the residents of Umea will have a public park to die for. Maybe they could do something in Brooklyn next?

For our Masters of Design profile of Bjarke Ingels, click here.

Click here for Bjarke Ingel’s thoughts on designing for clients who are sometimes political tyrants.

[Via Designboom]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.



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