Sober, functional and sustainable building with an iconic form – our ‘ice block’ concept has won the architectural competition for the National Ice Skating Centre.

The sports complex has to be eligible for national and international competitions and serve as a home for several sports from figure skating to hockey while it also has to be suitable for public skating. A sports hotel, a restaurant, a conference room, commercial areas and a swimming pool are also integrated in the plans. The ice skating rink that is surrounded by the stands basically determines and organizes the floor plan of the building. This elliptical shape appeared to us as a pond on the plans from the beginning of the design process. In our concept, we intended to ‘freeze’ this water into a building mass.

With this approach, we were able to create the perfect impression of an iceberg. The ice rink emerges from the curved lines that surround the designed shapes of the different levels, thus being analogical to the layers of ice and creating an organic, light and slightly irregular shape, which is floating above the ground. The open spaces of the entrances are marked by grandiose cantilevered masses. The ‘iceberg’ concept determines both the appearance and the structural system of the building. Molecules in ice are organized into a regular crystal lattice covering the space with a hexagonal grid; and our structure has become an authentic counterpart of this pattern.

The large roof above the glossy shell of the building functions as an umbrella; it protects the interior from heat and sunshine, just like ice caps cover some parts of the Earth.

The location added some extra difficulties to the design process as it is situated in the Budapest Olympic Centre, which is in the vicinity of protected monuments and contemporary stadiums. Besides understanding and respecting the versatile and rich historical background of the built environment, the aim of the design was to create an iconic building, which is worthy of its important role in the sport life of Hungary.

Nemzeti Korcsolyázó Központ pályatér

This vision of an iceberg is the key design concept, which is able to respond to the surroundings and blends in well with its built environment.

In addition to the airy appearance and the reflexive facades of the skating centre, it can assimilate to the park area and to the existing buildings around it. The building reflects the impression of the neighboring monuments and the atmosphere of the historical surroundings instead of competing with them.
From the earliest stage of the planning process, we searched for a concept, which is like Ariadne’s thread, leading and guiding us through the design process. As a result, the building is adaptive, while keeping the appropriate distance from its urban environment. When the jury of the competition evaluated the building, it was the progressive, ‘visionary’ approach of our architectural concept that was specially emphasized besides meeting the functional demands and the professional requirements of the sports involved.

Project info

  • Project Name National Skating Centre
  • Location Budapest, Hungary
  • Total Net Area 72 000 m2
  • Years of Design 2018-
  • Client National Sport Centres
  • General Design BORD Architectural Studio
  • Head Architect Péter Bordás
  • Coordinating Architect Eszter Vágvölgyi É., Kata Zih
  • Architect Team Róbert Gulyás, Noémi Gyárfás, Dalma Kiss, Emese Kulcsár, Balázs Móser, Andrea Waldmann, Réka Zsólyomi
  • Mechanical Engineering BORD Architectural Studio - Zoltán Hollókövi
  • Modelling Limes model Ltd. - Géza Csizmazia
  • Visualization Homologue - Zoltán Ölbey