‘Dramatic’ $200 million indoor winter sports centre planned for Penrith

A developer has lodged a planning proposal for a year-round indoor winter sports facility for a site in Penrith, designed by Environa Studio.

The $200 million facility would contain a 300-metre indoor ski slope, a secondary, 80-metre slope for beginners and children, an ice-skating rink, ice and rock climbing areas and an altitude training operation. The sports facilities would sit atop a 170-room hotel and function centre and a range of hospitality spaces.

The proposed building’s form will take the shape of an elongated sloping wedge that will rise to 54 metres at its eastern elevation to accommodate the ski run. At its high point, the “wedge” will be supported by a round tower, which will contain a lift that will double as the building’s entrance.

Environa Studio principal Tone Wheeler said the hope was that the ski slope would become a high-performance training facility.

“Being the first of its kind in Australia, with one of the 10 longest indoor ski runs in the world, and ambitions to become one for the top 10 high performance indoor ski facilities internationally, we’ve worked hard to design a building that reinvents this typology for the better,” he said.

“We’ve aimed for both statement architecture that enhances its setting and user experience – rather than the industrial-style shopping-centre-cum-indoor-ski-slopes of yesterday – and to achieve a complex that defies expectations by being carbon neutral in its operations.

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“The winter use areas have been designed essentially as a giant ‘esky,’ with multi-layered levels of insulation and few if any windows, with a high efficiency mechanical plant making both chilled air and snow or ice.”

The ski slopes would have no external glazing to assist with thermal insulation and to create a controlled internal atmosphere. The entire facility, including the hotel, will run from a 1.2 megawatt power supply of roof-mounted photovoltaic solar cells.

Developer Peter Magnisalis said the building would be a “dramatic and architecturally significant addition to the precinct, and city generally.”

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