Canadian ice arenas see more traffic in the dark of early morning and late night than most sports facilities.

To brighten the approach to Calgary's Great Plains Recreation Facility, MJMA Architects in Toronto (working with local firm Marshall Tittemore Architects) sought to create a warm entrance courtyard where geometry, color and light would not only welcome users but assist in their wayfinding once inside. In lieu of an entrance canopy, access to the building comes through doors that are recessed within a notch that starts to define the interior's unique layout for a twin-pad arena, with dressing rooms to the building's outside walls and a public viewing space down the center. Orange-colored Vanceva® glass, illuminated from below by low-level white LED lighting, reveals a ceramic-fritted pattern that suggests a hockey net, and the glowing sunrise/sunset effect of the facade is reflected throughout the interior accent palate. During daytime hours, the facade successfully screens incoming light. "We wanted to remove the notion of having the glass light-filled lobby space that no one uses and combine that with the inside spectator space that people actually do use," says MJMA's Ted Watson. "We couldn't bring in natural light because it would not be good for play — for goalies and players rushing the ice. We did solar studies and made sure that the orange frit really masked that light coming into the rink from the west, but you still get this really bright, warm orange hue through the glass in the late afternoon, which is pretty cool."

This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Design Details." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.


Paul Steinbach is Senior Editor of Athletic Business.