Pure white interface

We meet Anton Mariacher of ARCHITEKTURBÜRO MA-QUADRAT MARIACHER&PARTNER ZT KG at his spacious office in an old building in Graz. “Creating space” is a core theme from the native of East Tyrol, who moved to Austria’s fastest-growing city to study architecture in the 1990s. He tells us about the philosophy of his office and a project that only looks inconspicuous at first glance – the ice rink B in Graz Liebenau.

Three profile views of the architect Anton Mariacher looking to the right with different gestures.

So far, we’ve always been lucky to have clients who are real partners.

Anton Mariacher

Human bandwidth

Architect Anton Mariacher believes that the future of urban development lies in a redensification in the city centre and practices measures that have a positive effect on a cooler urban climate. His opinion regarding interior spaces and their design: People need space, they spread out – they are the ones who decorate the walls and fill a space with atmosphere. As an architect, he says, he provides the basis for this. If you take a look at their office portfolio, MA-Quadrat’s buildings cover basic needs in nearly all areas of life: from nurseries to housing up to retirement homes and cemeteries. Mariacher’s ‘freestyle programme’: sports halls and ice rinks. Similar to other architectural offices that focus on value and not on an investment-driven profit optimization, they work in a needs-oriented manner. He even goes so far as to say: “After clothing, buildings are a third skin for us.” And: “As an architect, I’m a custom tailor and appreciate working with analogue models.”

Shot of architectural models on the wall. Out of focus in the foreground: two employees of the office.

PREFA as the solution

For ice rink B in Graz, the small sister of the Graz ice stadium that is located right next to this stadium and has the city’s large football stadium at its other side, they were looking for a façade material that radiates a crystalline quality and is easy to apply. The aim was not to create a small-scale structure, but something homogenous and large-scale. “An architect needs to know their material and its possibilities,” says Anton Mariacher. And he also knew what he wanted: The siding façade panels should be laid vertically around the building in one go like a cloak. It was important to him that there would not be any horizontal interruptions in the façade caused by laying joints. PREFA made this possible and both planned and delivered the individually cut elements in the desired size up to 7 metres for the object-related individual solution.

Portrait of Anton Mariacher in his office.

Crystalline like ice

“When it came to the colour, pure white was basically the only option,” says the architect. The small ice rink is also a link between the adjacent football stadium and the ice stadium and, as an interface, should also carry the atmosphere of the large ice stadium, which was reconstructed by Mariacher’s office as well. Mr. Mariacher has been successfully planning sports halls since 2011, always matched to the requirements of the place itself and the needs of their users, and constantly goes far beyond the original requirements.

Even if the small rink was primarily planned for public skating, Anton Mariacher is convinced that, as it stands today, it could certainly also be used for competitions. He also adds that it has been optimized for live broadcasts. The only shortcoming: With 250 seats, it has room for less visitors than the large hall.

Corner shot of the ice rink. On the wall on the right side: ventilation shaft and the inscription "merkur EISSTADION" on the façade.

Various demands

Another important aspect among many event and technical features was also a closed-off bus parking area for football fans from out of town with direct access to the stands. “We had to meet many safety regulations here,” says Anton Mariacher. After all, fans have different needs. In the area of the new entrance, a catering unit and sanitary facilities were built as well. The construction of a new underground car park underneath the small ice rink also effected the static planning up to the roof, which is supported by 40 metre long double trusses.

Close-up of the long siding panels on the ice rink.

In one go

The construction of the ice rink began in spring 2020, and in December of that same year, the € 9,2 million project was completed. Even if it is the “small ice rink”, the entire new construction was not as small as it may sound. An open-air ice-skating rink for visitors has always existed on the site. Besides public skating, the new rink also offers training possibilities for professional sports, a fitness room, locker rooms, an ice hockey shooting range, a central forecourt and a TV compound for UEFA broadcasts in the outdoor area. Natural lighting with views inside and out were created for the public: When designing the window fronts and skylights, however, the team made sure that the ice surface would be protected from direct sunlight.

Roofing on the side of the ice rink in black.

Ice rink Graz - Details



Object, location:

ice rink, Graz


New building




Klaus Zidek GmbH


PREFA Sidings


pure white

Further Information

  • Interview: Mara Probst
  • Text: Mara J. Probst
  • Photos: © Croce & Wir