Once The Skating Ends, The Building Lives On -the Benefits Of Building With Wood 1

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25th February 2010, 12:41pm - Views: 932


Media Release – February 25, 2010 

Once the Skating Ends, the Building Lives On;

Speed Skating Venue a Showcase for the Benefits of Building with Wood

Long after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games are over, one of the Games’ key

venues will stand as an enduring testament to the possibilities of sustainable design and

the attributes of wood.

The Richmond Olympic Oval, home to long track speed-skating events during the

Games, has already garnered a string of major international architectural and

engineering awards, largely for its dedicated focus on the integration of world-best

sustainable building materials and practices. 

One of the most striking features of the building, and a key example of its environmental

sustainability, is the massive six acre free spanning wood roof, the world’s largest clear

span wooden structure. 

The decision to incorporate a wood roof structure  if possible

was taken early by the City of Richmond, which was committed both to showcasing the

capabilities of British Columbia’s wood industry and to utilizing wood’s sustainable

attributes and its visual character.

According to Sydney-based architects, Ancher Mortlock Woolley, designers of Sydney’s

Olympic Exhibition Centre at Homebush –

the largest clear span timber structure in

Australia – using wood from sustainably managed forests as a main structural element

and finish for a large public building delivers unique aesthetic, acoustic and durability


“What stadiums and facilities that utilize wood as the primary component in the building’s

structure have in common is the expression of a sophisticated design using a renewable

resource. This is where the material’s natural characteristics may be fully utilized, to

combine its physical properties, aesthetic appeal

and support contemporary

environmental initiatives for a sustainable future,” Phil Baigent, Director, Ancher Mortlock

Woolley, said.  

As importantly, because wood requires little energy to process and has no toxic by-

products, solid sawn lumber was the least energy intensive and least polluting of

possible construction materials for the Winter Olympics venue. The mass of wood in the

building, including one million board feet of spruce, pine and fir, also sequesters

significant volumes of CO2. 

Other highlights about the use of wood for Richmond Olympic Oval include: 

The building has achieved a highly coveted Leadership in Energy and Design

(LEED) Silver Certification, developed by the US Green Building Council;


The 100-by-200-metre roof is the largest surface to ever make use of wood salvaged

from forests that have been devastated

by the Mountain Pine beetle.

Large areas

Canadian forest have been killed by the naturally occurring beetle, which has taken

on plague proportions due to sustained period of unseasonal

warm winters.

Richmond Olympic Oval deliberately showcased beetle-killed wood, to underscore

the fact that rather than being a waste material it is an attractive resource that can be

used in buildings and other durable products, locking in the




The roof’s striking wave design and supporting panel system employs conventional

timber and plywood used in wooden frame construction throughout North America;

Significant acoustic benefits of the wave panel system include improved sound


and very effective absorption of low-pitched sound ensuring performance

music and background music sound better than in many arenas;

The building was specifically designed to deliver an extended service life with

minimal maintenance costs. Post Games, it is being transformed into a multi-sports

training and recreation facility.

Awards to date for Richmond Olympic Oval include the 2009 Wood Design and Building

Awards, a North America-wide award that celebrates wood in building innovation and

design, the Innovation in Architecture Award for Excellence from the Royal Architectural

Institute of Canada, the Green Building Practices Award from the Globe Foundation and

World Green Building Council and, most recently, the top award for a Sports or Leisure

facility from the Institution of Structural Engineers.

Wood. Naturally Better.™

Wood. Naturally Better.™ is a program to raise awareness of the advantages of wood.

Wood. Naturally Better.™ is resourced by Forest and Wood Products Australia Ltd

(FWPA, www.fwpa.com.au ) and is a collaborative effort between FWPA members and

levy payers. It is supported by industry peak bodies and technical associations. © 2009

Wood. Naturally Better.™ www.naturallybetter.com.au

Issued by: Tango Public Relations on behalf of Wood. Naturally Better.™

For further information call 03 9654 8098 or email consultant@tangopr.com.au

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