Architect-designed ice skating rink will use solar and geothermal power to keep the rink frozen all year-round.
Photovoltaic cells have seen a number of innovative uses recently, from the small scale – solar powered road signs to the large scale – a portable energy mill that provides power at disaster sites. Now, London-based architect Margot Krasojević has designed an ice skating rink that uses solar and geothermal power to freeze water, rather than environmentally harmful CO2-based refrigeration or energy-intensive mechanical refrigeration.
Many of Krasojević’s projects highlight the intersection of design and natural resources. Her latest project sees the ice rink sited on a natural lake, surrounded by thermal hot springs, in the Kamchatka region of Russia’s Far East, a popular tourist spot known for its panoramic views and snow-filled landscapes. To keep the rink frozen year-round, photovoltaic cells will be used to generate a safe electrical current throughout the lake. Solar panels, and turbines powered by the warm waters of the hot springs, will provide the energy to generate a current, as well as powering a geothermal spa, outdoor cinema, and charging stations. To keep the ice strong enough to support intense games of ice hockey – a major sport in Russia – the rink can be flooded from beneath its top layer – allowing a build-up of strong layers of ice.
Krasojević has designed the rink to mimic the appearance of frozen water and ice crystals, and plans to partially enclose the rink in striated cedar wood sections. The design is intended to create a dynamic relationship with the surrounding environment and emphasize the continuous and fluid nature of ice skating. A canopy over the rink will hold more photovoltaic cells, as well as a lighting and a cinema projector, allowing video to be projected onto the ice. Although construction has not yet begun, a second rink is being designed for use in the Gobi desert. In what other ways might photovoltaic cells be combined with cutting-edge design to provide eco-friendly entertainment?