Home now to world-famous Grolsch beer factory and a widely respected technical university, Enschede has benefited from decades of government investment and now boasts a vibrant and still burgeoning cultural and arts scene.

It is becoming increasingly famous too for its futuristic new ice skating and ice hockey rink, the Twente IJsbaan.

Sitting somewhat incongruously, near to the angular and brightly coloured edifices housing the rest of the town’s Go Planet entertainment complex, the gently curving profile of the fully covered, 400m-perimeter oval rink resembles a recently landed spaceship - more specifically a flying saucer. This somewhat bold aesthetic was created deliberately to express the “bold dynamism and speed” of competitive speed skating and was indeed designed to resemble a UFO!

The second biggest completely covered skating rink in the Netherlands, after the Thialf rink in Heerenveen, it is also said to be the greenest. Some 66km of pipes filled with carbon dioxide, rather than the usual ammonia, comprise the rink’s cooling system. This clean, energy-efficient system underlies the 187m-long, 94.5m-wide tubular steel-framed building housing the rink, which was designed to be both durable and ecologically sensitive, by a three-party committee comprising architects from IAA’s Enschede office and the Enschede town council, and locally based turn-key contractor Systabo.

Colorcoat Prisma cladding from Tata Steel in a standard silver colour covers the tube-shaped perimeter of the building, adding to its extra-terrestrial appearence, while similar but off-white coloured Colorcoat Prisma cladding comprises the vast, gently curving roof, which reaches a maximum height in the middle of 16.25m.

Low-energy lighting imbues the rink with a magical look at night, creating as it does the impression of a floating ice floor. Continuous glazing at eye level provides skaters with an unbroken view of the surrounding landscape, enabling them to feel, says Systabo’s Gary Lawrence, just as if they are skating out of doors.

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