Launch Slideshow

Glass and translucent polycarbonate walls on the exterior provide color variation as well as views inside the facility.

Olympic Hero

Designed for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Richmond Oval took Silver before the competitions began.

Olympic Hero

Designed for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Richmond Oval took Silver before the competitions began.

  • Glass and translucent polycarbonate walls on the exterior provide color variation as well as views inside the facility.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp29EC%2Etmp_tcm131-356152.jpg

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    Glass and translucent polycarbonate walls on the exterior provide color variation as well as views inside the facility.

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    Cannon Design/Derek Lepper Photography

    Glass and translucent polycarbonate walls on the exterior provide color variation as well as views inside the facility.
  • The Richmond Oval consists of three layers but the most well-known is the vaulted sports hall, home to speed skating events for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Designed as a legacy building, the Oval will transform into a multifunction space for public use.

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    The Richmond Oval consists of three layers but the most well-known is the vaulted sports hall, home to speed skating events for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Designed as a legacy building, the Oval will transform into a multifunction space for public use.

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    Cannon Design/Derek Lepper Photography

    The Richmond Oval consists of three layers but the most well-known is the vaulted sports hall, home to speed skating events for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Designed as a legacy building, the Oval will transform into a multifunction space for public use.
  • Between the steel trusses and main arches are WoodWave panels, which consist of three parallel "v" trusses or hollow arched triangular sections that are laid side by side and connected by plywood to form a long panel.

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    Between the steel trusses and main arches are WoodWave panels, which consist of three parallel "v" trusses or hollow arched triangular sections that are laid side by side and connected by plywood to form a long panel.

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    Cannon Design/Nic Lehoux Photography

    Between the steel trusses and main arches are WoodWave panels, which consist of three parallel "v" trusses or hollow arched triangular sections that are laid side by side and connected by plywood to form a long panel.
  • The ceiling panels conceal sprinkler lines, and an acoustic liner and mineral wool insulation to help manage noise. The shadow pattern and visual texture on the WoodWave panels are created by filigreed lumber strands.

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    The ceiling panels conceal sprinkler lines, and an acoustic liner and mineral wool insulation to help manage noise. The shadow pattern and visual texture on the WoodWave panels are created by filigreed lumber strands.

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    Cannon Design/Nic Lehoux Photography

    The ceiling panels conceal sprinkler lines, and an acoustic liner and mineral wool insulation to help manage noise. The shadow pattern and visual texture on the WoodWave panels are created by filigreed lumber strands.
  • The shape of the roof references the wing of a heron, Richmond'ss official bird. It is supported by buttresses featuring sculptural reliefs that reference Vancouver's heritage and First Nation population.

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    The shape of the roof references the wing of a heron, Richmond'ss official bird. It is supported by buttresses featuring sculptural reliefs that reference Vancouver's heritage and First Nation population.

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    Cannon Design/Nic Lehoux Photography

    The shape of the roof references the wing of a heron, Richmond'ss official bird. It is supported by buttresses featuring sculptural reliefs that reference Vancouver's heritage and First Nation population.
  • Post-games, transition plans include a center for elite athletes; two ice rinks; a court section featuring hardwood and rubber surface areas; and a track and field section.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp29F1%2Etmp_tcm131-356197.jpg

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    Post-games, transition plans include a center for elite athletes; two ice rinks; a court section featuring hardwood and rubber surface areas; and a track and field section.

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    Cannon Design

    Post-games, transition plans include a center for elite athletes; two ice rinks; a court section featuring hardwood and rubber surface areas; and a track and field section.
  • Post-games, transition plans include fitness areas. The facility will retain the ability to be reconfigured for short- and long-track speed skating events as needed.

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    Post-games, transition plans include fitness areas. The facility will retain the ability to be reconfigured for short- and long-track speed skating events as needed.

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    Cannon Design/Derek Lepper Photography

    Post-games, transition plans include fitness areas. The facility will retain the ability to be reconfigured for short- and long-track speed skating events as needed.
  • Indoors, the lower two floors are formed by cast-in-place concrete.

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    Indoors, the lower two floors are formed by cast-in-place concrete.

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    Cannon Design/Derek Lepper Photography

    Indoors, the lower two floors are formed by cast-in-place concrete.
  • The roof, one of the largest clearspans in North America, perches atop concrete buttresses. The main arches are positioned 47 feet apart and feature twinned glulam components connected by a steel truss.

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    The roof, one of the largest clearspans in North America, perches atop concrete buttresses. The main arches are positioned 47 feet apart and feature twinned glulam components connected by a steel truss.

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    Cannon Design/Derek Lepper Photography

    The roof, one of the largest clearspans in North America, perches atop concrete buttresses. The main arches are positioned 47 feet apart and feature twinned glulam components connected by a steel truss.
  • An exploded axonometric show the various layers comprising the Oval.

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    An exploded axonometric show the various layers comprising the Oval.

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    Cannon Design

    An exploded axonometric show the various layers comprising the Oval.
  • The curves of the structure are supported by 34 yellow cedar glulam posts.

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    The curves of the structure are supported by 34 yellow cedar glulam posts.

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    Cannon Design/Hubert Kang

    The curves of the structure are supported by 34 yellow cedar glulam posts.
  • During the 2010 Olympic Games, eyes were focused on the ice, but there's no denying that the soaring roof commands attention. British Columbia mills provided a range of materials, including 1 million board feet of spruce, pine, and fir lumber affected by a mountain pine beetle infestation in the province's interior; 19,000 sheets of Douglas fir plywood for the roof panels; and 1 million board feet of Douglas fir lam stock lumber for the glulam beams.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmp29F7%2Etmp_tcm131-356276.jpg

    true

    During the 2010 Olympic Games, eyes were focused on the ice, but there's no denying that the soaring roof commands attention. British Columbia mills provided a range of materials, including 1 million board feet of spruce, pine, and fir lumber affected by a mountain pine beetle infestation in the province's interior; 19,000 sheets of Douglas fir plywood for the roof panels; and 1 million board feet of Douglas fir lam stock lumber for the glulam beams.

    600

    Cannon Design/Hubert Kang

    During the 2010 Olympic Games, eyes were focused on the ice, but there's no denying that the soaring roof commands attention. British Columbia mills provided a range of materials, including 1 million board feet of spruce, pine, and fir lumber affected by a mountain pine beetle infestation in the province's interior; 19,000 sheets of Douglas fir plywood for the roof panels; and 1 million board feet of Douglas fir lam stock lumber for the glulam beams.
  • A court section featuring hardwood surface areas is part of the legacy plans for the Oval.

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    A court section featuring hardwood surface areas is part of the legacy plans for the Oval.

    600

    Cannon Design/Hubert Kang

    A court section featuring hardwood surface areas is part of the legacy plans for the Oval.
  • The triangular cores of the roof system conceal mechanical and electrical systems.

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    The triangular cores of the roof system conceal mechanical and electrical systems.

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    Cannon Design/Hubert Kang

    The triangular cores of the roof system conceal mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Public areas include a fitness area.

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    Public areas include a fitness area.

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    Cannon Design/Bob Matheson

    Public areas include a fitness area.

Any 355,000-square-foot facility will have environmental impacts. The sheer size alone implies a drain on materials, natural resources, and local ecosystems. The Richmond Olympic Oval offers a new slant on large-scale design, however, as the speed skating venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, earned LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its green building measures.

“With such a large footprint, we tried to make it a showcase of sustainable practices,” asserts Ted Townsend, senior manager, corporate communications for the City of Richmond, British Columbia. “We wanted others to see that size does not have to impede good environmental choices.”

Grappling with the long-term viability of a showcase building on a 32-acre site also posed questions about sustainability. During the city’s due diligence process, officials from past Olympic sites around the world with vacant buildings sounded a warning: Don’t make the same mistake. Build a venue that will meet your community’s needs.

The project team responded with a design that preserves delicate surroundings, reflects the area’s culture, finds innovative ways to leverage natural resources, and provides a neighborhood amenity. Marion LaRue, principal in the Vancouver office of Cannon Design, says decisions grew from a holistic perspective. “We were not simply focused on achieving LEED credits. We designed and built the Oval to be a legacy building that would contribute to the community and sustain itself financially after the games.”

Set between the Fraser River foreshore and the Hollybridge Canal estuary, the team carefully positioned the building a significant distance away from the two waterways. Substantial views from inside the structure and from the Oval’s large plaza encourage visitors to enjoy the scenery without disturbing it. Because the water table runs just 3 feet below ground, the team installed pumps and dewatering ponds during construction to prevent any runoff from entering the surroundings. The team also maintained native plants and habitats.

Stormwater runoff from the expansive 6.5-acre roof traces a visible path across the building through sculpture-embossed channels on 15 concrete buttresses on the building’s north side. These sculptured reliefs on the buttresses, designed by Musqueam artist Susan Point, include herons, fish, and First Nations motifs to reflect the site’s cultural significance—Vancouver is located in traditional territory of the Musqueam people, one of Canada’s First Nations tribes. Some of the water runoff is directed into the building for reuse in toilets. The rest collects in a detention pond filled with native marsh plants that filter the water for on-site irrigation and improve the quality of water released into the canal. The pond also is a visual attraction.

“The stormwater management system is a prime example of the level of thought that went into each aspect of this project,” Townsend says. “Whenever a feature was incorporated for functionality, the team asked, ‘How can we make it sustainable, multifunctional, artistic, aesthetically pleasing?”

Designers programmed the space to meet the needs of an 8,000-guest Olympic sports arena but maintained flexibility to serve the neighborhood both pre- and post-Olympics. Sitting two stories above ground, the building includes a basement parking garage. The facility opened to the public in December 2008 as a fitness center, multipurpose space, and a venue for competitions.

Trees that were felled to make way for the project’s construction were repurposed into wood ceilings and paneling. The Oval’s paints, carpets, adhesives, sealants, and composite wood are low in volatile organic compounds. Before the Olympics, crews added television cameras and upgraded lighting. Spaces were converted into team and training rooms for the athletes, meeting spaces, generous media mix zones, support facilities for spectators, and an anti-doping laboratory. The sports hall, with the 1,300-foot-long speed skating track, spans across the top floor.

Converting water into ice for a skating track of that size requires a lot of energy. To recapture heat from the compressors used to cool the ice, the design team installed heat exchangers. Water-filled pipes are heated by hot air expended from the compressors. The building’s forced-air heating system then draws heat from the pipes and circulates it to the building’s offices and multipurpose spaces. According to LaRue, after warming the building, the excess heat still could potentially provide energy for approximately 700 homes.

In the wake of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Richmond Oval will experience a rebirth as an urban catalyst and community center, and the possibility of using the building as part of a district-heating strategy is one that the city hopes to make a future reality. The Oval sits on one-third of a city-owned site that is slated for waterfront community development, and the $170-million ($178-million CAD) project’s flexible design will allow it to become the development’s focal point. The speed-skating rink will be converted into two ice rinks, a track and field area, and a court area featuring hardwood and rubber flooring, and overall the structure will transition into a multisport and wellness facility that offers indoor/outdoor recreational activities, shopping, and services.

KJ Fields writes about sustainable architecture from Portland, Ore.


Staggering Efects

One of the largest clearspans in North America, the Richmond Oval roof recycles lumber damaged by a local beetle infestation.

One of the most stunning aspects of the Richmond Oval is its roof. A close collaboration between Cannon Design; Fast + Epp Structural Engineers out of Vancouver, British Columbia; and StructureCraft Builders in Delta, British Columbia, led to an aesthetic and engineering marvel that covers 6.5 acres (about four and a half football fields). Not only is the $15.2-million ($16-million CAD) roof one of the longest clear spans in North America, it is assembled with 1 million board feet of lumber from trees destroyed by mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation.

Approximately 35.8 million acres of British Columbia’s forest has been affected by MPB infestation. The decomposing trees emit the carbon stored in the wood into the atmosphere, which makes greenhouse gases a concern and an issue that support harvest and use of the wood.

Architecturally, the curving roof recalls a heron’s wing—the City of Richmond’s official symbol. Fast + Epp designed the 330-foot glulam and steel arches that spring from the massive concrete buttresses and stretch across the vaulted six-acre space every 47 feet. StructureCraft spanned across the gaps between the arches by turning common 2x4 lumber into a novel lightweight system called the WoodWave Structural Panel.

“Converting a 2x4 into a truss that can span 40 feet required a few engineering innovations,” explains Brian Woudstra, StructureCraft’s pre-construction manager, "but it helped us find a great way to use this abundant wood."

StructureCraft created 452 WoodWave roof panels for the facility by placing 2x4s on edge. The designers spliced the panels together to form “strands,” vertically staggered them to increase their depth, and fastened them together to create 2.5-foot-deep, 4-foot-wide, 42-foot-long V-shaped “beams.” The V-shaped voids hold the sprinkler system and a noncombustible black rockwool liner that offers acoustic absorption. Each “V” was pressed into an arch, nailed together, and held in position with a steel tension tie. Each is fastened to its neighbors with a plywood “skin.” The resulting staggered wood pattern marked by strategically located black cavities offers spectators and athletes a view of a structure that carries the loads, reduces the noise, and offers an impressive overhead display.


Courtesy of Canon Design:



Green team

Architect, interior designer: Cannon Design, cannondesign.com 
Client/owner: City of Richmond, richmond.ca 
Mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, lighting designer: Stantec Consulting, stantec.com 
Structural engineers: Glotman+simpson, glotmansimpson.com; Fast + Epp, fastepp.com Civil/marine engineer: Delcan, delcan.com 
Geotechnical engineer, refrigeration engineer: Thurber Engineering, thurber.ca 
Construction manager, general contractor: Dominion Construction Co., dominionco.com 
Landscape architect: Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, pfs.bc.ca 
Security consultant: 3Si Risk Strategies
Cost consultant: BTY Group, bty.com 
Wildlife and ecology consultant: ECL Envirowest Consultants, ecl-envirowest.bc.ca 
Urban designer: Hotson Bakker Boniface Haden, hotsonbakker.com 
Building envelope consultant: Morrison Hershfield, morrisonhershfield.com 
Code/fire/life safety consultant: LMDG Building Code Consultants, lmdg.com
Operations consultant: University of Calgary, ucalgary.ca 
Wayfinding/signage consultant: Karo Group, karo.com

Materials and Sources

Acoustical system: Schick Shiner & Associates, ssatheatre.com 
Building management systems and services, lighting control systems, wires, cables, and communications: ESC Automation, escautomation.com 
Carpet: Fast Track Floors
Ceilings: Structurecraft, structurecraft.com 
Curtain wall, exterior aluminum, exterior cladding, metal decking, polycarbonate, roofing, insulation, and siding: Flynn, flynn.ca 
Doors, exterior glazing, and windows: Advanced Glazing Systems, AGS/Landmark, advancedglazing.com 
Elevators and escalators: Kone, kone.com 
Energy management controls: Georgia Mechanical
Exterior architectural coating: EIFS
Exterior architectural metals: CP Distributors, cpdist.ca 
Exterior slab waterproofing: J.R. Trory
Exterior spray fireproofing: Greer, greersprayfoam.com 
Fire alarm, fire suppression system, HVAC, and life safety: SimplexGrinnell, simplexgrinnell.com 
Flooring: APEX Granite and Tile, apexgranite.com; Fast-Track Flooring; Robbins Flooring, robbinsfloor.com 
Furniture: City of Richmond; Trident Millwork
Glass blocks: Sensitile Systems; sensitile.com 
HVAC, plumbing, and water systems: Stantec
Ice rink, ice slab
: Bry Sand Ice Arena, brysand.com 
Insulation and interior walls: Winwood Construction, winwood.ca 
Interior doors and door hardware: McGregor & Thompson, mcgregor-thompson.com 
Lighting, landscape fountain, and lighting controls and power: Status Electrical, statusteam.com 
Lockers, sinks, toilets, and washroom cubicle doors: Shanahan’s Specialties, shanahans.com 
Masonry: Limen Group, limengroup.com 
Millwork: Trident Millwork and Displays Ornamental metal, space frames, skylights, structural system, and decking: George 3rd & Son, geothird.com 
Paints and finishes: Concord Painting and Wallcovering, concord-painting.com 
Paving bricks: Terra Design
Plumbing fixtures: Georgia Mechanical
Refrigeration system: Cimco Refrigeration, cimcorefrigeration.com 
Railings: Landmark Glass
Shrubs, trees, and flowers: CLC/Terra Design
Signs: Knight Signs, knightsign.com 
Windows: Advanced Glazing Systems; Landmark Glass