Beautifully located on the banks of the Fraser River in British Columbia, the Richmond Olympic Oval is the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics speed skating events. The building was designed by architects Cannon Design, structural engineers Fast & Epp, and design-builder StructureCraft Builders. Its distinctive WoodWave © roof panel system was constructed at the StructureCraft factory in Delta, BC. MLA was engaged to help develop a ceiling that would be acoustically absorptive and meet the structural and aesthetic requirements of the designers and builders.
The ceiling was built using BC pine-beetle killed wood cut into 2 x 4s and linked together in undulating sections to create a rippled effect. The multiple rows of concave arched WoodWave Vee-sections, about 43 feet long, are supported by a series of 330 foot long wood-steel composite arches. The interiors of the Vees are lined with 2.5 inch thick rockwool batts to absorb the sound energy. The surface is partially open to allow the sound to penetrate the sides of the Vees and be absorbed by the liner. Laboratory testing was carried out to measure the absorption coefficients. The result was an absorption factor close to 100 percent.
The building, with its ingenious roof structure, has attracted worldwide attention and received several prestigious awards. These include an Award of Excellence for Innovation in Architecture, in the Science category, from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and the 2009 Award for Sports or Leisure Structures, from the Institution of Structural Engineers, UK.