Ken Wiseman Led Design Team Recognized for Richmond Olympic Oval Project

By Christopher Whitcomb

Richmond Olympic Oval Recognized as Landmark Sports Facility from Past Half Century with IAKS/IOC All Time Award

DC-Based Architect and Knowlton School Alumnus Ken Wiseman Led Design Team for Breakthrough Sports Venue -- The Only North American Facility to Receive the IAKS/IOC Honor

Washington, DC, October 27, 2015The Richmond Olympic Oval, the signature venue from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in Canada and now a multi-use community recreation center and sports venue designed by CannonDesign, has received the All Time Award from the International Association of Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) – an award reserved for landmark sports facilities from the past half-century.

The All Time Award is being issued in conjunction with IAKS 50th anniversary and will not be awarded again until 2065. This year’s awards were presented during the IAKS annual Congress in Cologne, Germany on Tuesday, October 27. The Oval is one of just 10 facilities to receive the honor – and the only award-winning venue from North America.

“We have always been proud of the visionary work that helped make the Richmond Olympic Oval an influential and notable facility, a cultural treasure for the community in the years since, and now with this award from IAKS, one of the best sports facilities of our time,” said CannonDesign Principal Ken Wiseman (BSARCH '76, MARCH '78), AIA, who led the firm’s efforts on the Oval. “Our firm is honored to have worked with the City of Richmond and so many other people who helped make this building a reality.”

The Richmond Olympic Oval is a breakthrough facility in the world of sports and community recreation design. Prior to the Oval’s creation, Olympic speed skating venues were built as single-use “sport-only” building that had little value to the community after the games, resulting in “white elephants” with long-term revenue and operational challenges and little or no community use.

Equipped with one of the most flexible and adaptive interior sport environments ever, the Oval has changed how designers view and create Olympic facilities. The level of convertibility and multi-use achieved in the Oval is unprecedented and unparalleled and continues to enrich and nourish the Richmond, British Columbia, community and its surrounding region.

During the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, the venue offered a 400-meter speed-skating track and 8,000 seats for spectators along with a fitness centre, athlete testing area, cardiovascular rehabilitation centre, wellness centre, sports medicine centre and concessions areas. Now as a regional community recreation center, the dynamic facility offers three floors of flexible space allowing for combined sports, recreation and community uses simultaneously. The Oval has also spurred new housing and commercial development and a City Centre waterfront park that enhances community, public access and use of the Fraser River.

“We were fortunate to work with a city that challenged us to raise the bar when it came to sports design, sustainability and community engagement.” added Wiseman. “This award is further evidence of that vision as the Richmond Olympic Oval continues to leave a remarkable legacy.”

The IAKS/IOC award adds to the recognition the Oval has received since its opening, including the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada Award of Excellence for Innovation in Architecture, Athletic Business’ Facility of Merit honors and ArchDaily’s

Building of the Year recognition, along with numerous local and regional design awards from across North America.

Since leading efforts on the Oval, Wiseman has continued stand-out design work on facilities for Texas Christian University, the University of Colorado Boulder, San Diego State University and Eckerd College among others. At the same time, Wiseman is a key leader in CannonDesign’s DC region design efforts and is currently engaged with work for the University of Maryland System and other DC-area universities and institutions. A long-time resident of McLean, Va., Wiseman and his wife Lori are active with the McLean Project for the Arts.

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CannonDesign is an integrated global design firm that unites a dynamic team of strategists, futurists, researchers, architects, engineers, and industry specialists driven by a singular goal—to help solve our clients’ and society’s greatest challenges.