An ode to Canada’s nordicity and the Olympic speed skating champions fostered by the country, the Centre de glaces de Québec is composed of fluid and continuous forms that reflect the swift momentum, balance, and skill of those gliding across its 13,500 m2 of ice. With a 400-metre oval speed skating track and two multifunctional Olympic-sized rinks, this complex is the largest indoor ice ring in North America, and the first of its kind along the continents’ east coast.
The structure’s oval shape reflects the balance and fluidity of gliding on ice, but it’s the element of speed in particular that informed the project from its early conceptual stages to its final form: Smooth, rounded architectural features mimic the seamless forward motion found in the movements of speed skaters travelling around its glacial tracks. The centre’s most prominent gesture is found in its resemblance to a floating ring. With a design that lifts the entire volume of its perimeter off the ground, a 360-degree band of windows was created at eye-level to emphasize the interconnection between an outside world of onlookers and those gliding by inside. This surrounding wall of glass’ visual democratization of the activities inside continues with the elevation of its bleachers; by placing them on an elevated mezzanine with an integrated multimedia banner for indoor projections, the challenge of concealing interior mechanics finds both an elegant solution and a sleek minimalist appearance that is carried on throughout the rest of the built environment.
The Centre de glaces de Québec promotes health and wellness by enticing movement both on and off the ice through the inclusion of two running tracks. One follows the periphery of the ice indoors and is complimented by a second that encircles the complex outside with rising and falling mounds, allowing for multiple viewpoints around the building.