City of Richmond
Richmond Olympic Oval
The Richmond Olympic Oval serves as the centerpiece of a new, urban, waterfront neighborhood featuring mixed development. This signature speed-skating venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games has transitioned to an international centre of excellence for sports and wellness, and venue for community events, creating a lasting legacy beyond its Olympic Games purpose.
Historically, indoor long-track facilities that have been built solely to host Olympic speed-skating events have faced significant revenue and operations challenges post-Games because of their size. Facilities must be convertible for other uses to be cost-effective.
The Oval’s level of program convertibility and multi-sport use is unprecedented in high performance sport buildings. The main activity space allows ice sports to co-exist with other sports or community uses simultaneously; at any time, the facility can revert to the speed skating oval. A model for cutting-edge sustainable design, the facility is breaking new ground for sports and wellness facilities. Its green features earned LEED Silver and are expected to yield significant operational cost savings over its lifespan.
“Every visit to the Richmond Olympic Oval is awe-inspiring. Much was said about the visual impact of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. While the exterior of these buildings was stunning, the interiors were rather pedestrian. The interior of the Oval is majestic. The use of wood and the vistas across the Fraser River to the mountains are utterly worldly. The unique integration of art and sustainable technologies in water collection and recycling is inspired. The Oval will remain a jewel of a legacy from the 2010 Games. ” Chris Rudge, CEO & Secretary General, Canadian Olympic Committee
This signature venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is a $178 million complex that includes a landmark multipurpose sports, recreation, and community facility on Richmond’s waterfront, along with the City Centre Waterfront Park and public plaza. In addition to catalyzing the transformation of the riverfront into a high-density, urban neighborhood, the Richmond Olympic Oval will also provide a venue for community events in the future, creating a legacy extending far beyond its immediate purpose.
In the Richmond Olympic Oval, waste heat produced in the creation of ice may be used to heat the building. The city of Richmond also may create an innovative thermal utility that will utilize the waste heat to provide low-cost heating and cooling for the entire new 32-acre urban waterfront neighborhood being created around the Oval. Optimization of the building envelope, particularly the 20-hectare roof, and development of a highly efficient mechanical system are among the other primary strategies contributing to the building’s projected energy performance of 42% below the Model National Energy Building Code.
Rainwater collected from the Oval’s massive roof is stored both inside the building, to supplement toilet flushing, and outside in a pond in front of the Oval for use in irrigating surrounding trees and landscaping. Marsh plants populating the pond provide natural water purification, improving the quality of water in the connected Hollybridge Canal. Sustainable materials include a 100-by-200-meter ceiling made of wood salvaged from British Columbia trees ravaged by pine beetles, as well as low-VOC paints, coatings, laminates, and sealants. With a design solution that optimizes energy use, environmental health, and aesthetic value, the Oval has achieved LEED Silver certification.
View LEED Points
- 400m speed-skating track featuring two 4m lanes and one 5m lane
- Seating for 8,000 spectators
- Athlete testing center
- Rowing/paddling tank
- Cardiovascular rehabilitation center
- Fitness, wellness and sports medicine centers
Emphasizing lightness, transparency, and translucency, the interiors of the Richmond Olympic Oval mitigate the facility’s large scale and reveal the myriad functions within. To offset the building’s highly expressive and complex architecture – exemplified by its iconic “heron wing” roof – the Oval’s interiors employ a simple color palette and durable, easily maintained materials, with finishes ranging from sealed concrete to sumptuous tile. Low-VOC solvents, non-PVC tiles, highly reduced content masonry, and site-harvested wood help achieve the facility’s mandated LEED Silver standard.
Glowing yellow and orange translucent glass sheathing highlights elevator towers and feature stairs, striking a contrast with large-scale structural concrete features. Circulation routes, nodes, and program destinations are well marked by a colorful, highly visible interior wayfinding system. A canopy of overlapping edge-lit planes leads visitors from a three-story entrance lobby to activity spaces. Displays of sports imagery grace the central circulation spine; boldly colored entry portals telegraph key activity zones.
America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) Awards
Award of Excellence for Innovation in Architecture
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada
Building of the Year Award - Sports
Facility of Merit
Green Good Design Award
Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design
Interior Design - Honor Award
Inform Magazine, Inform Awards
IOC/IAKS Gold Medal Award
International Olympic Committee and International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities
One of Three Finalists Recognition
WAN AWARDS Civic Buildings
Public Services Development
International Property Award (Bloomberg, Inc.)
Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC)
Wood Design Awards - Honor Award
Wood Design & Building Magazine
Derek Lepper Photography
Hubert Kang Photography
Nic Lehoux Photography
Randal Kurt Photography
Architecture Over Ice: Cannon Creates a Skating Venue of Olympic Proportions
RAIC Awards - Innovation In Architecture, Richmond Olympic Oval
Oval and Above