The world’s first mobile curling hall was opened in Turku

Copper Hill Curling Club from Turku, Finland, won the World Curling Federation’s, WCF’s, international competition where 16 countries sought the opportunity to build the world’s first mobile curling hall. AST was selected as supplier of the refrigeration tubing, refrigeration machine and installation on site. The new curling hall has two ice sheets with walkways, an entrance hall, locker rooms and an accessible toilet.

“The project was a jackpot for us, since many sports hall projects in Finland are on hold due to the costs,” says Mika Äikiä, chair of Copper Hill Curling Club. “Until now, we’ve been playing in ice hockey rinks that are often fully booked, and their conditions are challenging for curling, as well. Curling requires a smoother ice than sports like ice hockey or figure skating.”

The pilot project was important for curling enthusiasts in Turku, but also for people elsewhere in Finland and the world.

Mobile, efficient and innovative design

Leif Öhman, WCF Technical advisor and project leader, intiated and developed  the cornerstones of the technical concept. In terms of usability, ice quality, cost- and energy efficiency, ambitious targets where outlined.  

The groundwork and isolations of the hall were built above ground so that the hall could be transported easily. However, the technology needed to be as reliable as in other curling halls.

“We use automation to ensure that the air conditioning and dryers keep the hall’s inner temperature and humidity stable,” Äikiä says. “The temperature of the ice is also monitored and adjusted according to the hall’s conditions. Things such as the number of watchers and players affect the indoor conditions.

For the ice field refrigeration, AST´s white 6-channel tubes with large cross section give a good distribution of thermal energy over the ice field and accurate control of ice temperature.  The tubes are in direct contact with the ice, this leads to efficient and quick ice field cooling. A grid net is installed on top of the tubes to both toenforce and whiten the ice.    

To fulfil the requirement of high energy efficiency, the refrigeration machine can operate with 100% energy recovery, which is used to provide heat to the building. The refrigeration machine is a “compact” mobile construction and was designed optimised for the application by supplier Frigadon of  Sweden.    

In cooperation between WCF, the Engineering Consulting Company Sweco and AST, the details of the design went through an number of stages of optimisation. To the benefits of all parties and especially the Copper Hill Curling Club, the result is a facility which in the first two months of operations has proven to be just as good as many installations. For future hall projects of the same kind, the construction time can be shortened significantly. 

Curling requires stabil indoor conditions

Antti Heikkilä, the regional manager of Sweco’s Turku office adds; “As this is a completely new type of a hall, the technology involves many special characteristics,” Heikkilä specifies. “The greatest challenge was ensuring high-quality indoor conditions regardless of the hall’s exceptionally light structure. Judging from the feedback we have received, the conditions of the hall are already top-quality in this phase of the adoption.” 

The social, skill-based sport is for all ages and sizes

The goal of Copper Hill Curling Club is to introduce their sport to a few hundred new members.

“The athletes from Helsinki who are getting ready for the Olympics have shown interest in our hall, and people competing at the national level or just for leisure are also training at our facilities,” Äikiä says. “Curling is also optimal for co-worker teams, for example, as men and women can play it equally.”

“AST supplies ice rink installations for all ice sports, but we are especially proud to be able to contribute to giving the curling team in Turku a new home arena. We wish new and old members of Copper Hill Curling Club a successful, fun and smooth curling season in the new Hall”, says Peter Hirvell of AST.

Sources: - Fotos

Vesa Kokko hat Turku Curling Arena bewertet – 3. Oktober  (Facebook)

Hieno halli! Hyvät jäät! Myös pyörätuolinkäyttäjille esteetön! // Nice hall! Good ice! Wheelchair users are also unobstructed!

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