Despite the legendary reputations of Madison Square Garden, Maple Leaf Gardens, and the Montreal Forum, skating rinks and hockey arenas may be North America’s most overlooked cultural buildings. Architecture on Ice reveals the central role they have played in influencing urban, social, and political life across the continent. In the first book to chart the development of skating rinks and arenas from their origins as simple wooden sheds to today’s fully wired, multi-purpose entertainment complexes, Howard Shubert examines how these buildings have been adapted to seasonal change and to a multitude of uses besides skating - from political rallies to rock concerts - and how these adaptations, in turn, have transformed skating, curling, and hockey. Revealing the ways in which arenas are sites where sport, culture, and commerce intersect, Architecture on Ice describes four distinct phases in the development of these buildings: the early rinks and arenas of the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, the Golden Era of 1920-31, the building boom in postwar arenas from 1960-83, and the postmodern hockey complexes built between 1990 and 2010. Lavishly illustrated with surprising, amusing, and previously unpublished images, Architecture on Ice explains how the construction of buildings engineered the way recreational activities are performed and experienced.
Howard Shubert is the former curator of prints and drawings at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. He lives in Toronto.
"Architecture on Ice is a well-illustrated history of the hockey arena and a thorough study of how sport and commerce can and do transform even those sports – like ice hockey – that many regard as national religions." Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
“Beautifully illustrated with a carefully curated selection of paintings, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings, Shubert weaves a fascinating narrative in which architectural history, cultural landscape studies, the history of sport, and political, social, and cultural histories coalesce. Uniquely, Shubert shows the trajectory of a sport through architecture and in doing so turns the standard script for architectural history on its head. A compelling read for multiple audiences, whether scholars of the built environment, historians, or sports enthusiasts feeling nostalgic for the Golden Age of hockey.” Montreal Review of Books
“Unique in topic and scope, Architecture on Ice offers a historically broad yet detailed architectural history of skating rinks and hockey arenas in North America and makes an important contribution to the study of these culturally and economically significant spaces.” Michael Windover, Carleton University
“Teeming with illustrations, this is a thorough and broadly thoughtful chronicle not simply of design and development, but also of the social and cultural spaces that ice-houses occupy in our hearts and on our streets.” Literary Review of Canada
“Exceptionally researched and peppered with intriguing photographs and illustrations, Archi¬tecture on Ice examines the development of buildings for skating and hockey. With an interdisciplinary approach to the subject, Architecture on Ice is particularly useful in understanding the forces that are driving the contemporary development of these projects. A fascinating read.” Canadian Architect
"In Architecture on Ice: A History of the Hockey Arena author Howard Shubert, a former curator for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, thoroughly examines the cultural factors that contributed to the evolution of the rink. Richly illustrated with photos, historical depictions, blueprints and concept art, no stone was left unturned in the construction of this book." The Hockey News