Oxford Ice Rink   Oxford, UK

Given an isolated site and the challenge of providing a facility for both socialising and sports, the Oxford Ice Rink combines an inspired structural response: two 30-metre-tall masts that announce themselves to the historic city centre, from where the masts can be glimpsed.

With a relatively small budget and difficult ground conditions, as well as the need for a large column-free space for the rink, Grimshaw chose to design a building that could be suspended, and thereby reduce the need for piling and alleviate the load of the wide-span roof.

A spine beam formed from a two rectangular box sections runs the entire 72 m length of the building and is supported by the striking pair of masts, which make reference to Oxford’s famous spires.

The expansive 56 x 26 m rink is encased by a cladding system that is equally tailored to the building’s function. Two-thirds of the rink is clad in cold store panels, with the remaining north facade being fully glazed. Like the masts, this illuminated face acts a further advertisement of what lies within.

It was unorthodox in appearance, one of the first generation of mast-supported and long span structures to exploit the corrosion-resistant coatings developed for offshore structures in the North Sea, but it was also very cheap.

Martin Pawley, Architects' Jorunal

Oxford, UK

Project Type
Sports →

Oxford City Council

3,506 sq m



Ove Arup and Partners