Page N1.1 . 10 March 2010                     
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    North American Wood

    by Brian Libby

    The Richmond Olympic Oval, the venue for long-track speedskating events in the recent Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, is capped by a massive roof almost 6.5 acres (2.6 hectares) in size. The LEED Silver-certified building, designed by Cannon Design, features prefabricated pine panels spanning between hollow composite wood-steel arches to form a rhythmically pleated timber ceiling over the ice.

    The Oval was one of 16 projects in Canada and the United States recognized in the recent Wood Design Awards, given by the Canadian Wood Council's Wood Design & Building magazine. Other honorees range from a large California home to a Toronto concert hall and an Oregon interpretive center.

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    Richmond Oval

    The Richmond Oval is a 33,750-square-meter (363,000-square-foot) facility in Richmond, British Columbia, designed around a 400-meter (1,312-foot) speedskating track. The roof's wood-and-steel arches span about 95 meters (310 feet) between concrete buttresses. The triangular cross-section of the hollow arches is echoed in the accordion pleats formed by panel components made of two-by-fours from pine trees damaged by the mountain pine beetle.

    "It has the least possible volume of wood use and yet solves the acoustical and structural problems at the same time," says Gerald Epp, partner at Fast + Epp, which performed structural engineering of the roof and facade. Epp is a strong proponent of wood as a structural material. "We believe it hasn't been utilized on a larger scale like it could be," he says.   >>>

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    The long-track speedskating venue for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the Richmond Olympic Oval in Richmond, British Columbia, was designed by Cannon Design.
    Photo: Derek Lepper Photography/ Courtesy Cannon Design Extra Large Image

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    The Richmond Oval was one of four projects recognized at the "honor" level in the 2009 Wood Design Awards from the Canadian Wood Council's Wood Design & Building magazine.
    Photo: Derek Lepper Photography/ Courtesy Cannon Design Extra Large Image

     

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