Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010

Good things tend to happen in February. Be it Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day or Mardi Gras.

But, this year, instead of these usual events, I’m looking forward to the XXI Olympic Winter Games.

That’s right, only 33 days to go until Vancouver and Whistler roll out the red carpet for star athletes from over 80 countries.

Ever since Canada’s western most province won the bid to host, they’ve been busy planning, designing and constructing. Vancouver is a beatnik community (of sorts), so it was almost expected that the city would put sustainability and greening at the forefront of its designs. With approximately fifteen buildings that are either new construction or newly renovated; emodying LEED principles, each landmark is unique and sure to be a hit during the Olympics and for years to come.

Of all the buildings, my favourite is the Cannon designed; Richmond Olympic Oval. The quote below from the CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee sums up the sentiments of many locals quite nicely…

“Every visit to the Richmond Olympic Oval is awe-inspiring. Much was said about the visual impact of Beijing’s Bird’s Nest and Water Cube. While the exterior of these buildings was stunning, the interiors were rather pedestrian. The interior of the Oval is majestic. The use of wood and the vistas across the Fraser River to the mountains are utterly worldly. The unique integration of art and sustainable technologies in water collection and recycling is inspired. The Oval will remain a jewel of a legacy from the 2010 Games.”Chris Rudge, CEO & Secretary General, Canadian Olympic Committee

This beautiful, multi award winning building is located on the banks of the Fraser River, near downtown Vancouver. It has already changed the lansdscape and revitalized the waterfront area. During the Olympics, the building will be home to the 400m speed skating track and will seat over 7,500 fans.

Awaiting Silver LEED certifion, the Olympic Oval was carefully designed, considering present and future use. Plans have already been established for the Oval post Olympics, to become a shared professional athletic training center and a community fitness center with food and retail spaces.

Below are some details about the building, that are helping to earn its LEED certification.

BC Pine-Beetle Wood Roof — The Oval’s massive ceiling is made of salvaged British Columbia wood that was damaged by a pine-beetle infestation. At a size of about 100 metres by 200 metres (2 hectares), the roof is believed to be the largest surface ever covered in the once-discarded wood. Showcasing use of this wood may encourage its application elsewhere and
help mitigate the economic hardship the pine beetle epidemic has brought upon regional communities in British Columbia.
Rainwater Capture and Reuse — Rainwater is collected from the Oval’s vast roof through an innovative collection system featuring original Coast Salish designs by Musqueam Nation artist Susan Point. Much of the captured rainwater flows into the building’s utility systems to supplement toilet flushing. The rest is stored in a pond in front of the Oval and used to irrigate surrounding trees and landscaping. Marsh plants in the rainfall collection pond act as natural purifiers, improving water quality in the pond and in the connected Hollybridge Canal.
Waste Heat Reuse — Waste heat energy recovered from ice-making will be captured and reused for other purposes in the building, including domestic hot water and heating/cooling systems. As the size of the Oval’s speed-skating rink is the equivalent of six international hockey rinks, this recovered heat energy is considerable.
Green Buildings — The City of Richmond is targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) “Silver” green building certification for the Oval, which will be a unique achievement for a facility of the Oval’s size and type.
Accessible Sport and Community Legacy — After the Games, the Oval facility, which was designed with flexibility in mind, will be a training and competition facility for many Paralympic sports, including wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball and adaptive rowing. The Oval will also serve as a multi-sport and wellness facility, providing a recreation legacy that will benefit the health and wellness of the community.

Courtesy of VANOC

Now that I’ve selected my favourite Olympic building and have my tickets in hand, all that’s left to do is pack my bags. See you in Vancouver!

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