Ice skating has become one of the most popular seasonal activities offered at mixed-use centers. Few, if any, actually stop to think about how these temporary rinks come to be and how they are designed. And even fewer realize that landscape architects actually have a big hand in it.
Landscape architects are trained to understand how spaces are formed and how people use those spaces and thus are uniquely qualified for the creation of social spaces within large developments. With the recent opening of Atlantic Station and Avalon’s ice skating rinks, we wanted to share design and land planning insight from the landscape architect’s perspective.
In considering location for the temporary rinks, we strategically placed each one in areas that would generate the ultimate holiday experience. The team considered spaces on the property where the rink would naturally fit, rather than dumping it in a vast, open parking lot or “back of house” service area. They also looked for specific proportions of building heights and street widths that would create an intimate setting for the overall skating rink experience.
At Atlantic Station, our team suggested moving the rink from Central Park to the lightly travelled District Avenue where it now resides. This move allowed the rink to be much larger and more importantly, made it visible from 17th street, which connects Atlantic Station to Midtown. The previous location in Central Park was small and hidden from view by those on the heavily trafficked 17th Street. The new location provides a better environment for guest and residents to enjoy the seasonal décor adorning the trees and skyscrapers creating a unique backdrop for the rink.
At Avalon, we designed the Plaza (in front of Regal Cinemas) to be programmable throughout the seasons with a 5,000-square-foot flexible lawn that serves as a platform for the holiday skating rink. The rink is located at the center of Avalon’s hub of excitement with the stage and fountains on one end and Concierge and wood-burning fireplace on the other.
Beyond space consideration, our team planned for infrastructure, lighting and sound requirements; rental services; audience seating; and Zamboni parking and access. This planning gives the appearance that the rink is a permanent fixture and not an ad hoc amenity surrounded by temporary generators, chillers and above the ground pipes and conduits.
How are you customizing your property for the holidays? We’d love to hear from you!