Longevity Central to Stadium Design for Vancouver Olympics

July 7, 2009

By Tim Newcomb

For three sports venue designed for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, there was one major goal: staying power.

The 8,000-seat Richmond Olympic Oval, by Cannon Design, is the largest of the trio, at 512,000 square feet. Completed last fall, it contains a 400-meter speeding skating track, along with VIP lounges and an anti-doping lab.

The 8,000-seat Richmond Olympic Oval, by Cannon Design, was completed last fall.
Photo courtesy Cannon Design Architecture and Hubert Kang Photography
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Robert Johnston, Cannon Design principal, says the integration of wood, glass, and steel in the building is meant to evoke a “Flight Flow Fusion” theme. The facility’s most distinctive feature is its 6.5-acre, curved roof made of pine-beetle “kill wood” harvested from British Columbia forests; it’s a first-time use for the maligned lumber.

The architects hope to earn a LEED-Silver certification for the $63.3 million building. Post Games, it will morph into a community fitness center and athlete’s training venue.

Designed by Hughes Condon Marler: Architects, the new Vancouver Olympic Center features a 108,000-square-foot arena and a 66,500-square-foot aquatic center. Michael Henderson, project coordinator, says that merging two venues allowed him to design a “spine,” separating the spaces physically and aesthetically.

The building was designed to achieve LEED Gold. It will host curling matches during the Olympics, and afterward will be converted into a public library, preschool, and recreation center.

Similarly, the expanded UBC Thunderbird Arena, by Kasian, aims for longevity. The 187,000-square-foot facility, which will host ice hockey events, contains one refurbished rink and two new ones and is designed to earn LEED Silver. Its success post-Games seems like a hat trick, given that ice hockey is Canada’s no. 1 sport.

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