Bend Parks and Recreation District executive director Don Horton envisioned an open-air ice facility for the central Oregon community 10 years ago, before ETFE emerged as an innovative building skin material for Beijing's National Aquatics Center at the 2008 Olympics.
Opsis Architecture LLP chose to incorporate ETFE panels into the design of The Pavilion — which opened in December 2015 — to block wind and filter sunshine on two sides of the ice surface, while still maintaining an outdoor experience for Bend's skaters and curlers. Lightweight and cost-effective (compared to fritted glass), the otherwise clear panels were specified with a silkscreen pattern of half-inch-diameter, light-gray dots, allowing for roughly 50 percent opacity without being visually prominent. At the same time, the panels help mask columns that support The Pavilion's roof — allowing the wood-slat canopy to appear as if floating above the refrigerated rink. "What really made it work as an outdoor pavilion was having that ETFE wind and sun screen," says Opsis architect Jim Kalvelage. "Just having a roof over the ice wouldn't suffice, so the perimeter screen element was really what made the facility work functionally as well as aesthetically. It was just the spot-on appropriate application for that material."
This article originally appeared in the January|February 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "ETFE screens enhance outdoor skating experience at Oregon rink." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.