I Love Belgium, Blog, Belgium, Belgium, Liege, Architecture, contemporary, Olympic, Ice, Rink, Sport

A Whale in the City

We can't deny it: it's getting colder. A perfect moment to talk about Belgian winter sport infrastructure such as the new olympic ice rink in Liège.


L'Escaut architects received a budget of over 9 million euros and a mission to build a new iconic Olympic Ice Rink. This resulted in a rounded building, shaped like a giant whale (hence  the self-declared public name) and covered in 200.000 aluminum scales. This “public-mammal" offers the highest facility quality for ice-skating by meeting the international competition requirements as well as ice hockey.

On the sides of the ice-rink there is a capacity of around 1.200 audience seats (whether they are watching the sport or enjoying the architecture is a guessing game). These seats are a great example of up-cycling: the architects decided to take the old seats from the former ice-rink in Liège. But there are not only seats in this 6,700 square meter building, you also find cafeterias, skate sharpening workshops, storage facility and business lounges. 

Another interesting fact: to maintain the best quality of ice, which is paramount for such a facility, you need to preserve the temperature at exactly 16 degrees Celsius. To do this, the Olympic Ice Rink has implemented high tech efficiency programs to save energy. One contributing factor to this is the fact that there are almost no windows, keeping the temperature at the desired degree.

Yes, the interest of ice sports in Belgium is halfhearted, but perhaps this aluminum whale is about to change that. So put on your wool gloves and hat and dare to enter your own Moby Dick adventure. 

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