De Boer has transformed the site of a former multi-storey car park in Brixton, south east London, into a temporary ice rink which will be in place for at least two years. The semi-permanent venue has provided the ideal solution for Lambeth Council following the closure of a popular ice skating centre in nearby Streatham while a major redevelopment project takes place.
The council needed to come up with an alternative facility for the thousands of skaters who take to the ice in Streatham each year, and De Boer supplied the answer with a bespoke 2,500-square-metre steel-frame building complete with an international-standard ice bed.
It took just five months to construct the facility which also includes changing rooms, offices, reception, café, storage and maintenance areas, toilets and spectator viewing for more than 160 people. Day-to-day management of the centre is being handled by market-leading ice leisure company Planet Ice, with specialist Dutch company Ice World International providing the all-important ice bed.
Existing management, staff and on-ice coaches from Streatham have transferred across to Brixton to operate the venue, while their own permanent ice rink will be re-built as part of the development scheme.
The Brixton rink officially opened to the public just before Christmas with ice hockey and skating clubs from Streatham switching to the new facility. Celebrities from ITV’s popular ‘Dancing on Ice’ programme have also been practising their routines at the venue which also boasts a diverse range of products including ‘Skate UK’, which offers learn-to-skate courses and ice toddler sessions as well as general skating sessions.
Ice Rink Head Coach Diane Towler-Green – four-times British, European and World Ice Dance Champion – says the new facility is one of the best in the UK.
She said: “At first we were worried about moving here because we were concerned about how small the site was and the level of facilities that could be provided, but it’s absolutely amazing, fantastic – we love it! The ice is very good and the facilities are marvellous. You can’t fault it. In fact it is one of the best rinks we have been to, and this is even more amazing when you consider how quickly it was built. It’s an unbelievable achievement.”
Trudy Ward, whose eight-year-old daughter Rose is one of Diane’s up-and-coming young talents, also praised the new facility. She said: “Naturally there were concerns when we knew our permanent ice rink was closing and that we had to move to a temporary rink. However, the moment we walked in we were so surprised about how elegant it was and how it feels and looks like a permanent building.
“It really is very impressive. We have just returned from Australia, where Rose skated at two relatively new purpose-built ice rinks in Melbourne, and this is every bit as good.”
Work on the project commenced in August following demolition of a multi-storey car park. The building, which comes with multi-coloured cladding incorporating insulation and sound-proofing, opened for business on December 19.
Robert Alvarez, De Boer’s Sales Director – Commercial, said: “This project is yet another example of the fantastic flexibility of our semi-permanent structures which can accommodate a multitude of uses. Over recent years our events division has provided structures for temporary ice rinks in major towns and cities around the UK during the festive season. These are hugely popular with the public, and when we were approached about supplying a longer-term facility in Brixton we were able to call on this experience.
“The festive rinks are outdoors but this is the first time De Boer has been asked to build an indoor venue with all the support facilities you would associate with a top- quality ice skating arena. The building is a bespoke design complete with high-tech cladding and insulation to ensure sound proofing and the all-important temperature control systems.”
De Boer’s Commercial Division has supplied semi-permanent solutions for a vast variety of projects including supermarkets, warehouses, factories, museums, car showrooms, airport facilities and custodial accommodation within prisons.