An architectural practice has shown off a concept for an unfolding ice rink which can be installed in places along the river and unfurl like a flower when the weather is right to form a natural ice rink.

The so-called “frost flowers” are circular ice rinks designed by NBBJ, the same people behind the idea of turning the Circle Line into a giant travelator.

Like the travelator, the ice rinks are headline grabbing, but equally impractical.


The idea is that when the weather is right, the structure unfolds in the Thames, and sits just below the water line, to collect the river water, and then it would be lifted up and the water frozen.

Unfortunately, that’s more difficult when also surrounded by a large body of much warmer water, and river water freezes less easily than the clean water used by modern ice rinks. Also, the idea that the ice rinks can fold away and not be a nuisance until needed forgets the river regulations that would need boat collision buoys to be installed around each ice rink on a permanent basis.

In all, a headline grabbing, publicity friendly, folly.


Incidentally, despite their fame, there were just 24 frost fairs over a 430 year period, and while they occurred roughly once a decade during the 17th century, they were much rarer at other times than popular myth might lead you to believe.



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One comment
  1. theSCornwall says:

    Reminds me of a particular episode of Challenge Anneka back in late 80’s/early 90’s where she was challenged to freeze the Thames to make an ice rink for some kind of charity/party event. (If I am remembering correctly think the solution was to lash a whole load of flat barges together and use those synthetic ice skating interlocking mats you can get. I think she even managed to persuade the PLA to close the Thames Barrier for a couple of hours to ensure constant river level)

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