1. Creative Problem Solving
Architects in general are great at problem solving. We are trained to look at a problem from many different angles and look for the best solution. Like anything else, the more times you do something, the better you get. It’s the same with rink design; the more times you do it, the better you become. The increase in skill level allows you to get the basics quickly and accurately in place, freeing you up to bring creativity to problem. I, personally, always like to bring multiple solutions to the table. I want to respond to what the client is thinking, but then also show them something out of the box. From there, it’s their choice on how we come to a resolution.
2. Wide & Wise Network
Having been in the industry for several years, you get to meet folks that have built their livelihood in the rink industry. You learn who are the top performers and who will deliver beyond expectations. Having that knowledge is a real benefit to a client. There are so many questions and variables that go into putting a rink project together, it is comforting to be able to access a network of trusted professionals. An architect with rink experience can provide this trusted and valuable resource.
3. Informed & Inspired Program
When we start a new project, the first thing we do is hold a programming session. This is an extended conversation where we ask you many questions about your thoughts and what you have in mind, but we also bring our experience to the table. We start the programming discussion by saying: “Close your eyes, imagine walking in the front door of your new rink, what do you see?”
By combining our knowledge and experience with your thoughts and visions, together we can create a masterpiece. It’s another benefit of hiring an architect with rink experience; we have the benefit of gaining knowledge from multiple rink owners and operators which we document in our written program. It's a collection of years of research of all the possibilities of rink design— from the basics like locker rooms, to the unique features like bowling or e-sports.
4. Deep Understanding of the Ice Environment
Have you ever been in a rink that was foggy?
I remember once going to one of my son’s hockey practices and when they skated to the other end of the rink they disappeared in a cloud of fog. (How scary to be a goalie in that environment!) Ice rinks, like swimming pools, are a unique and challenging environment to manage. The humidity, the temperature, the occupant load - all these things and more need to be carefully balanced. Only an architecture team with experience has the knowledge to design the right systems and advise owners on proper equipment and operation.
5. Advanced Location & Site Plan Mapping
Each project has a unique site with its own challenges and opportunities. We recently worked with a client that was looking for a new property for a rink project. They needed to know how many acres to look for depending on the size and number of ice sheets they could build. In the end, they chose a site where we were able to fit two sheets on a compact property—but it was the right price in the right location. Our experience helped us to create a very efficient plan, knowing where we could save space without sacrificing functionality.
6. Strong Visual Communication & Technology
One of the biggest challenges our clients face is reading and understanding blueprints. As architects, it’s our job to communicate the design of the building in a way that helps you understand every detail of the project. No one wants surprises when they walk into their new building. We use the latest technology to help visually communicate our designs. For example, we recently created a fly-through animation for a client that they used when talking with potential donors. This visual view helps immensely in generating understanding, excitement, and anticipation - for the project team as well as community members, donors, and more.
7. Value Contractor Relationships
The relationship between the owner, architect, and contractor is key to the success of your project. Will your architect and contractor “play nice in the sandbox” or is there tension there that casts a shadow over every meeting? The key to a great relationship is communication. An architect with experience can anticipate questions and communicate expectations, process, and more with the contractor. Our experience is that contractors want to be involved early on and enjoy giving input throughout the design of the project.
Let’s face it – building projects are stressful! There are so many decisions to make, there is always a budget to watch, and you have so many people with a vested interest in the project that you are trying to please. For many of our clients this is a once in a lifetime experience, and our goal is to make it as fun as possible. Because we have experience, we can anticipate the stress points and do our best to alleviate those before they happen. In a building project, surprises usually cost money—and that’s no fun. Our experience helps to eliminate those negative surprises.