Fab 40: Vancouver Winter Olympics
Vancouver’s Olympic architectural legacy is less about starchitects and iconic buildings than about the very Canadian values of community consultation and environmental sensitivity - with locally harvested softwood getting top billing.
Cannon Design’s speed skating Oval, with its unique undulating wooden paneled roof – one of the longest clear spans in North America - wins points for reusing wood salvaged after a voracious pine beetle infestation destroyed half of British Columbia’s pine forests.
The Olympic Park Day Lodge, by Merrick Architects, combines cutting edge green design and stunning views of the surrounding Callaghan Valley. At its centre, Glulam beams follow the upward tilt of the roof, engaging with the coastal mountain range and offering a cathedral like sense of spaciousness and majesty.
At the core of the Walter Francl-designed Trout Lake ice rink, is an arch formed from 70-foot Glulam beams and supported by a concrete buttress wall. Geometry in motion, the building almost disappears into the sloped topography. Organic modernism at its best, the curvilinear white clamshell roof echoes the snow-capped mountains.
Finally, the Athlete’s Village is home to a community centre designed by the late Arthur Erickson - destined to eventually become a new mixed-use neighbourhood after the 2010 games - along with a 1.2 million square foot waterfront convention centre and the stylish new Hillcrest curling and Kilarney ice rinks. Olympic architouring looks set to be a key event.