How to Make Ice Center Design Warm and Inviting

By Paul Steinbach

Wayfinding begins before one even enters Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena in Irvine, Calif. So does the theming.

Conceived to guide patrons through the three phases of water, the 280,000-square-foot, four-pad arena features along its exterior walkway towering pilons that demark each pad's location in a side-by-side linear configuration — allowing visitors to find their destination rink while still enjoying the arid climate and the misted, drought-tolerant foliage along their path. This signifies water in its vapor form.

The Ducks, who play their games 14 miles north at the Honda Center, are headquartered between rinks three and four at Great Park Ice, which includes ample dryland training space, as well as a Ducks team store, a pro shop, a skate rental, concessions stands, a party room, and a restaurant and bar. "Their vision was to create a community space that could be utilized to promote ice sports but also just bring the community together," says Steve Flanagan of LPA Inc., the Irvine-based architecture firm behind the design. "When we came into the interview, we said we have this amazing opportunity to do something that has never been done before, and that is combining the indoor-outdoor Southern California lifestyle with ice sports. What does that look like? Well, it's more than just having a sea of parking and a front door."


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