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  • The Melting Ice Cube

    ICE Conference Centre, Cracow

    Architects: Krzysztof Ingarden, Arata Isozaki
    Text: András Borsos
    Photos: Krzysztof Ingarden, Wojciech Wandzel, András Borsos


    Shimmering with a silvery shine, ICE (International Conferencing & Entertainment) forms a prominent part of the cityscape of Cracow. Its designer, the Ingarden & Ewý Architekci team of Polish architects was commissioned with the project after winning the international tender published by the local government, who cooperated with Arata Isozaki, a Japanese architect. Made up of a single mass, the forms of the building were defined by the shape of the site and the regulations limiting the height of the structure. Turning towards the historic city centre located on the other side of the river, the complex has an overall image evoking the view of a wavy frozen body of water with its roof shimmering like silver. This impression is further intensified by the sight of the multi-storey foyer which is especially attractive when illuminated at night. The series of spaces connected via galleries and free-standing stairways is spectacular owing to its configuration, and it also allows us to glimpse into the life of ICE from a distance. Seating 2,000 people, the centrally positioned auditorium excels as a hall with some of the best acoustics in Europe. Located within 5-minute walking distance from the historic centre, ICE hosts congresses, conferences, in-service trainings, business meetings, concerts of classical and pop music, ballet and theatre performances all the year round, almost on a daily basis.

    Architecture: Ingarden & Ewý Architekci
    Leading architect: Krzysztof Ingarden
    Fellow architect: Jacek Ewý
    Project manager: Piotr Urbanowicz
    Design consultant: Arata Isozaki & Associates
    Interiors: Arata Isozaki, Hiroshi Aoki
    Acoustics: ARUP Acoustics, Raf Orlowski
    Stage technology: ARUP Venue Consulting
    Structure: Project Service
    Landscape: Pracownia Projektowa Land-Arch, Karolina Bober, Małgorzata Tujko
    Main contractor: Budimex SA & and Ferrovial Agroman SA