The signature venue of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, the Richmond Olympic Oval is the first Olympic speed-skating facility ever designed for long-term use. The building spurred the creation of a new urban waterfront neighborhood in Richmond, BC that it continues to nourish and support today.
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. The Oval is different in that it continues to enrich its community as an everyday sports and wellness center and venue for community events.
The International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) recognized the ingenuity of the Oval by recognizing it as the only North American facility to receive its All-Time Award. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon the world's best sports facilities every half century.
I don’t think this is anything close to an overstatement. This building has no equal anywhere in the world. No building in Olympic history looks anything like this and will do anything like this.John Furlong CEO, Vancouver Olympic Games
During the Olympic Games, the venue offered a 400-meter speed-skating track and 8,000 seats for spectators along with a fitness center, athlete testing area, cardiovascular rehabilitation center, wellness center, sports medicine center and concessions areas. The building was widely referred to as the "crown jewel" of the Games for its iconic design and first-of-its-kind plan for long-term use.
Now, as a regional community recreation center, the dynamic facility offers three floors of flexible space, allowing for combined sports, recreation and community uses simultaneously. It's common to see a hockey game and skating lessons at one end, an international fencing tournament at the other, and numerous other activities unfolding in between: basketball, volleyball, weights, yoga, climbing, ping pong and more.
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 and the facility can revert to a speed-skating oval as needed.
The building also features one of the largest wood roof spans in the world, spanning six football fields. It was fabricated with wood salvaged from pine beetle-killed forests. Normally, these insects are vital players in the lifecycle of forests. But, with climate change causing the population to explode, millions of acres of pine forests are being destroyed. The building's entire interior ceiling uses this wood.
The roof is just one of numerous sustainable design features the Oval brings to bear, earning LEED Silver and generating operational cost savings across its lifespan.