dgj020 Iceskating Park Thalwil, Thalwil, CH , 2003


The project for an ice skating arena consists of a glacier landscape with an artificial cloud as roof. The surrounding fun-ice-skating-park integrates into the glacier, and forms a transition to the natural park around the building.

The upper and lower floors of the ice skating park are connected by a flat ice ramp. The ice hockey arena is open to the ice skating areas above. Therefore, an interesting visual and spatial relationship is created between the spaces and people moving through them.

The outdoor ice-skating park includes a variety of widths and curves which provoke different movements and artistic tricks in the same way the city furniture is used by skateboarders. An ice bar is integrated into the glacier landscape. Its edge has been designed as a sitting bench on which the visitors can sit, relax, and watch the other ice skaters.

The ramp between the skating area and the ice hockey arena makes it possible to perceive the spatial structure as a physical experience. The ice ramp is also an innovation in ice skating. To make the speed on the ramp easier to control, the ice on the ramp might be replaced by a slower wax or epoxy finish.

The roof is a pneumatic cloud which hovers weightlessly above the glacier. At night, it will glow from within, and create a memorable icon within the suburban context. Despite its size, it is perceived as a natural phenomenon, and does not compete with the built environment. It consists of a steel net and a double membrane. They form a huge cushion which is under high pressure and easily spans over the entire ice arena. The pressure of the cushion is controlled by simple air pumps which regulate the internal pressure according to the external forces of the roof resulting from wind and snow. The steel ring is a three point frame which short circuits all the pressure forces introduced by the net and the cushion. The V-shape columns take all the horizontal forces.

The edge of the cloud has been designed in a dynamic free form that lead to an accelerated perception of the space while skating along under it. The membrane is mainly translucent, and gives a natural light during the day without dazzling. There are also transparent parts in the upper and lower membranes, but their relative position is worked out in a way that avoids dazzling by sunlight, but allows a view to the sky. In the evening, the cloud is illuminated from within and seems to glow.

project period Sep 01 2002 - Feb 01 2003
useSport. Leasure
address Zürcherstrasse, Thalwil
floor area 4,800 m²
building volume 12,000 m³
budget 5.0 Mio. CHF
price 2. Price
client Community Thalwil
commissionInvited Competition
project partner: OSD Office for Structural Design, Prof. Dr. Harald Kloft, Dr. Wilhelm
project status: Awarded Competition Entry