Melbournians have the opportunity to skate to the top of winter sports with a
new world-class ice sports facility developed by ING Real Estate in Docklands.
Medibank Icehouse is the only dual-rink facility in Australia and features two
Olympic size ice rinks to cater for ice sports - figure skating, short track
speed skating, ice hockey and curling - as well as recreational skaters.
Grandstand seating for 1,000 spectators, a café, bar, gymnasium and specialist
sports medicine clinic make this a world class training and competition facility
and are key reasons why the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA)
relocated its training programs and administration to the Icehouse.
Entire Mechanical Services won the mechanical contract for the ice rink and
Fantech supplied 26 general exhaust fans and smoke spill fans for the project.
Project Manager Garry Muscat said the Icehouse was the first professional
ice-skating rink to be built in Melbourne for several decades and presented
unique challenges as Olympic standard ice rink construction was unfamiliar
Melbourne-based Cox Architects also sought guidance from abroad and designed the
$58 million complex in collaboration with Canadian ice-sports specialist
architects, Brisbin Brook Beynon, and international engineers ARUP.
“Ice rinks require stringent temperature and humidity control,” Garry said. “The
air temperature is maintained at 16°C, but at this temperature any moisture in
the air could create fog. Fogging would obscure spectators’ vision and could
present health and safety issues because of it. To reduce fogging humidity is
kept at 40-45%.”
Garry said even though air temperatures were 16°C, visitors to the Icehouse were
kept warm through an underfloor hydronic heating system in the skater’s lounge,
skater dressing rooms, and other non-skating areas.
Like all commercial developments in Docklands, the Icehouse must meet a set of
minimum performance standards outlined in the Melbourne Docklands Ecologically
Sustainable Development (ESD) Guide. The guide was the first operational Green
Building Rating tool in Australia and was a key reference tool in the
development of Australia’s Green Star program by the Green Building Council of
Garry said they had used a heat exchanger to reclaim heat from cooling tower
condenser water and use this for the underfloor hydronic heating, and heating of
the rink air. Similarly, in summer, some of the Fantech relief air fans are used
to extract cooler air from the rinks and, via a heat exchanger, precool warmer
fresh air. This was an ESD initiative to reduce the amount of electrical energy
consumed by the HVAC plant.
These initiatives were instrumental in the icehouse receiving an Award of
Excellence which recognises the highest level of environmentally sustainable
design under the Docklands ESD guide, and is equivalent to a 5 Star Green Star
Medibank Icehouse opened its doors to the public on 12 February, 2010.