Oval ovation

In Ottawa this past Saturday, members of Cannon Design accepted an RAIC Award of Excellence (Innovation in Architecture) for the architectural firm’s City of Richmond Speed Skating Oval. The 506,000-square-foot structure was designed as a dual-use building. It will serve as the speed-skating venue for the 2010 Olympic Games; afterwards, it will function as an International Centre of Excellence for Sports and Wellness.

The Oval is organized around three levels. The main activity space is a clear-span arch structure of about 330 feet, making one of the longest such spans in the world. The lower level contains support functions and parking, while the main space on the second level containes the 400-metre speed-skating track, rinks, track and courts. The top level is a mezzanine for fitness programs and spectator seating during the Games, as well as a hospitality lounge.

One of the Oval’s most innovative design features is the use of one million board feet of discarded pine-bettle-killed wood designed as a stupdedous structural ceiling.  

Judge’s comments:

• Innovative use of the discarded pine-beetle-killed wood integrates the spanning system with the mechanical systems and creates an elegant roof.

• The project demonstrates that a large-span structure can also manage to feel intimate.

• Structural design allows for an effective amount of perimeter daylighting for the interior functions.

Cannon Design is an international architectural firm with Canadian offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary. At present, the firm employs a staff of 800, delivering services in 17 offices throughout North America, as well as abroad in Shanghai and Mumbai.