When the City of Richmond was named the long-track speed skating venue for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympic Games, they called for a landmark building that would showcase local wood and accommodate legacy use.

Project Essentials

  • LocationRichmond, BC
  • ClientThe City of Richmond
  • ArchitectCannon Design
  • Size506,000 ft² (47,008 m²)
  • BudgetC$178 million
  • Sustainable FeaturesCertified LEED Silver

Fast + Epp rose to the challenge, designing a roof structure that was the result of extensive field research into Olympic ovals in Lillehammer, Salt Lake City and Calgary. Alongside Structure Craft, we proposed a world first – sweeping longspan timber-steel hybrid arches, which would support captivating ‘Wood Wave’ panels made from simple pine-beetle-kill 2×4 lumber.

This vision for the roof – still recognizable from an initial sketch – came a step closer to reality when a parking garage below the building was introduced. By extending concrete buttresses up through the lower floors, the concrete structure could be used to resist the outward thrust of the arches. Thus, we avoided visually-heavy tie rods and large overturning forces on the soft, liquefiable foundation soils.

The structure conceals all mechanical and electrical services within the hybrid arches, creating striking, uncluttered architectural expression. Meanwhile, the perforated panel structure yielded outstanding acoustic performance, making the entire structure a truly integrated design.


  • Canadian Consulting Engineer

    2010 Award of Excellence

  • Association of Consulting Engineering Companies British Columbia

    2010 Award of Excellence

  • Canadian Institute of Steel Construction

    2010 National Steel Design Award - Engineering Award of Excellence

  • The Institution of Structural Engineers, UK

    2009 Award for Sports & Leisure Structures

  • The Institution of Structural Engineers, UK

    2009 Commendation, David Alsop Sustainability Award

  • World Architecture Festival

    2009 Special Commendation, Structural: Spans Category

  • National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, USA

    2009 Finalist Award of Exceptional Merit in Buildings over $100 Million

  • Canadian Institute of Steel Construction

    2009 BC Steel Design Award - Outstanding Steel Structure: Engineering Division Award of Excellence

  • Wood WORKS! British Columbia

    2009 Wood Design Award - Institutional

  • Canadian Wood Council

    2009 North American Wood Design & Building Award

*Note: the Glotman Simpson Group of Companies structurally engineered the Oval’s concrete base and parkade structure.