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Vancouver Olympic structure wins over Beijiing “Bird’s Nest” in international awards

The structural design of the soaring 6.5-acre wood and steel roof over the Richmond Olympic Oval near Vancouve...


Richmond Olympic Speedskating Oval, Richmond,B.C.  Photo by Hubert Kang.
Richmond Olympic Speedskating Oval, Richmond,B.C. Photo by Hubert Kang.

The structural design of the soaring 6.5-acre wood and steel roof over the Richmond Olympic Oval near Vancouver, B.C. has won a top international award.

Designed by Vancouver consulting engineers Fast + Epp, the Oval Roof took top honours in the Institution of Structural Engineers’ Award for Sports Structures, beating another recent Olympic venue structure, the Beijing National Stadium, known popularly as the “Bird’s Nest,” as well as highly regarded structures such as the Wimbledon Centre Court roof in London, U.K. and a New Elephant House in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Structural Awards 2009 were handed out on Friday 9, October at the Museum of National History in South Kensington, London.  The Institution of Structural Engineers is the world’s largest membership organisation dedicated to the art and science of structural engineering and has been in existence over 100 years.

“To be acknowledged as exceptional amongst some of the world’s premier structural engineers is truly a privilege,” said Paul Fast, a principal with Fast + Epp from London. Fast and partner Gerald Epp accepted the award in the company of Marion LaRue, Cannon Design Architecture and Greg Scott, City of Richmond.

The dramatic roof is designed as a soaring wood and steel structure that conceals the mechanical systems. It has triangular-shaped composite arches, spanned by “Wood Wave” panels also designed by Fast + Epp with StructureCraft Builders Inc.. The panels were constructed from one million feet of wood boards killed by the pine-beetle in the forests of B.C.

The Richmond Oval will be used as the Long Track Speed Skating venue for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games to be held in February.