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Vancouver Olympic venues bask in green glow

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by Richard Gilbert

A group of architectural firms have been presented with an international award for excellence in green building practices for their contribution to the construction of nine venues for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
The Richmond Olympic Oval in British Columbia.
The Richmond Olympic Oval in British Columbia.

Sustainable building

A group of architectural firms have been presented with an international award for excellence in green building practices for their contribution to the construction of nine venues for the 2010 Olympic Games.

“The bar for green building practices around the world has reached new heights with the development and construction of the new facilities for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games,” said Dr. John Wiebe, president and CEO of the GLOBE Foundation, an international organization whose mandate is to promote the business case for sustainable development.

The GLOBE Foundation and the World Green Building Council presented a one-time award for Excellence in Green Building Practices to 15 architectural firms that developed the largest set of simultaneously constructed, single project, low environmental impact facilities in history.

“These firms have displayed a commitment to green building by incorporating building technologies and materials that minimize environmental impacts while taking advantage of local resources, innovations and businesses,” said Thomas Mueller, president of the Canada Green Building Council.

The 15 firms receiving the awards include Walter Francl Architecture, Acton Ostry, Hughes Condon Marler, Nick Milkovich Architects, Merrick Architecture, GBL Architects Group, IBI/HB Architects, DA Architects, MCM Partnership, LMN Architects, Cannon Design, CJP Architects, Stantec, Burrowes Huggins and Hottson Bakker Boniface Haden.

Mueller presented the awards to these firms on behalf of the GLOBE Foundation and World Green Building Council at a special ceremony held at the newly constructed Trout Lake Ice Rink, which will be used for figure skating training ahead of the games.

Trout Lake is just one of nine facilities recognized internationally for their green building initiatives.

Other facilities include the Richmond Olympic Oval; Killarney Ice Rink; Vancouver Convention Centre; Vancouver Olympic Village, including the South East False Creek Community Centre; Vancouver Olympic Centre; Whistler Sliding Centre; Whistler Olympic Park; and the Whistler Olympic/Paralympic Village, including the Whistler Athletes’ Centre.

Innovative design in a number of venues used locally harvested wood.

For example, the roof panel system on the Olympic Oval was conceived and engineered by Fast+Epp, a local firm.

The roof of the building is made of V-shaped wood trusses which used standard 2x4 lumber.

The 2x4’s were harvested in British Columbia’s interior lodgepole pine forests that were ravaged by the mountain pine beetle.

Roof sheeting is made from Douglas fir plywood.

Where the roof extends beyond the building, the glulam posts are made from yellow cedar originating from British Columbia’s coastal forests.

The Vancouver Convention Centre is another showcase for architectural wood use, with the extensive use of local Douglas-fir and hemlock wood-finished surfaces.

Whistler Nordic Village used glulam products from Edmonton-based Western Archrib for the building superstructures.

The Trout Lake Community Center used glulam beams and columns.

The beams and paneling came from trees blown down in Stanley Park during the 2006 windstorm.

The Vancouver Olympic curling venue used glulam beams made from certified and sustainable B.C. Douglas Fir for the swimming pool portion of the building.

The 2010 Commerce Centre has a unique ceiling crafted from wooden planks.

The centre also used wood from submerged Douglas-fir logs for custom decorative applications and chips from trees killed by the mountain pine beetle as aggregate in concrete countertops.

The main entrance of the UBC Winter Sports Facility features reclaimed/refurbished glulam beams from a previously decommissioned and demolished older arena at the site.

The Vancouver Athletes’ Village and Community Centre used wood for interior applications, including cabinets, doors and trim, and flooring.

The Award for Excellence in Green Building Practices is a one-time award that was presented to these architects in the form of a handcrafted Parallam clock.

Vancouver woodworker David Gilmore was commissioned to create the clock, which is made from salvaged B.C. wood.

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