The back of the whale

Inside Ingalls hockey rinkMost of us hockey players loved Ingalls rink, certainly the country’s most architecturally significant college hockey rink (or possibly any rink). Most rink structures are just functional boxes, e.g., Harvard’s. My particular fond memory is of standing at center ice and looking up at the swooping arch that supports the “whale-back” roof. I think of that arch as a cousin to Saarinen’s St. Louis Gateway Arch, though of course the shapes and dimensions are very different.

Joel Bard

The hockey rink

Ingalls hockey rinkI like the hockey rink, known as the Yale Whale and designed by architect Eero Saarinen. It’s a ridiculous building, with a massive swooping roofline that lifts in the center as if it housed some tall or powerful object. But it’s a hockey rink. The only thing inside is the flat ice surface and seating around it. The gesture of the design has no bearing on the function of the building, but it’s fun and distinctive. You’d never see such a thing where use dictates design, but at a major university you can get away with such things.

– Stuart Cohen