At over 4,300 square meters, the "Grosse Wallanlagen” is one of the worlds' largest, permanent open-air venues. It opened in 1971 as part of the International Garden show, “IGA 73.” Currently, it is in the process of undergoing a much-needed remodeling and renovation.
Those involved in the project felt that it had been in the preliminary discussion stages for far too long.
Someone finally came up with a unique way to jumpstart the process. The Middle Hamburg Districts Office proposed that potential investors, architects, construction companies and others interested in revamping the ice rink compete against each other with innovative ideas.
With the competition deadline met, in 2008 the second phase was initiated: to select the most innovative renovation scheme. The selection panel consisted of local government officials, those in political circles, independent architects and private organizations. The process of elimination followed. In October 2008, three candidates remained. They submitted additional plans with improved concepts to the judges.
Recently, a unanimous decision was made to accept the plans submitted by ARGE INDOO, Spielwerk Betriebs, GmbH & Co., KG, with POOK LEISKA PARTNER and Paul Schüler.
The applicant pool process proved to be very effective in developing the cost-effective modernization plan for the " Ice rink Wallanlagen
According to a press release from the Bezirksamt Hamburg Mitte, the chosen concept appeared to best suited for the panel's criteria for the use of the space, keeping in mind the need to attract a broader and more diverse audience than before. The plan calls for a space that is visually more pleasing, but retains the existing ice surfaces for winter activities. Additionally, for summer there is a plan to add a roller-skating rink.
And that's not all: there will also be a climbing park next to the rinks. The developers also plan to build a restaurant with an outdoor cafe in the park, and a winter food bar where customers can warm up with a hot cup of drew.
Regional official Andreas Lang wasn’t able to say when the actual work will begin, or how long it will take to complete. The panel was only required to come up with a great idea, and was not expected to provide a projected timeline. Presently, the fine-tuning of the scope of work is underway. When that is completed, the final contract will be approved. Then the task of remodeling will begin.
"In reality, the work will probably not commence until after the first ice skating season," said Lang. Construction cost is another issue that won't be finalized until contract negotiations are over.
Markus Schreiber, head of the Bezirksamt Hamburg Mitte, is pleased with the outcome of the competition. The winning bid assures that a family-friendly environment can be saved, and the climbing park will add another dimension, providing a venue for an activity that is known to be very popular in the area.
Schreiber elaborated further: "The concept is not overly ambitious. It is elegant and attractive."
Thirty years of wear and tear has clearly taken its toll on the site. According to Hamburg consultants, a complete overhaul will be necessary, resulting in an immense capital outlay.
When embarking on such a large scale renovation, the end result has to measure up, especially since funds are scarce, and every penny must be accounted for.
Feasibility and usage are key factors to the success of the project. This was the main reason why the city fathers were so proactive in seeking uniquely innovative concepts.
It is anticipated that many new paying customers will prove to make the venue one of the most popular places in the area.
(Heide B. Malhotra also contributed to this article.)
Read original article in German.