Surrey pool is world’s top engineering project

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre in Surrey, B.C. has been recognized as the world’s top structural engineering project. The Institution of Structural Engineers has presented the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre with one of the highest accolades in world engineering, “The Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence” at a ceremony in London, England on November 11.

Engineered by Fast + Epp, the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre boasts the world’s most slender, long span timber catenary roof. The undulating roof shape reduces the amount of air to be heated and de-humidified, cutting operational costs, while ingenious steel tube columns in the façade serve a double function, resisting wind loads and acting as ventilator ducts.

The Awards judges said: “We were struck by the undulating roof, which elegantly balances structural form with building use and celebrates the expressed materials. The adoption of timber in catenary permitted a structural depth of just 300mm for a 55m span – a design which defies convention and demanded design excellence.”

The project won in the Community or Residential Structures category and then was ultimately selected for the top overall award by the judges.

Designed in close collaboration with architects from HCMA Architecture + Design, the facility was constructed to meet the diverse needs of one of Canada’s fastest growing cities and features an undulating roof structure with hanging timber ‘cables’ suspended between large concrete buttresses. The adoption of timber in catenary permitted a structural depth of just 300mm for a 55m span. It defies convention and demanded design excellence in the tuning of the geometry and development of bespoke details to ensure that this high quality of construction could be delivered economically for the public client.

It’s believed to be the world’s most slender long span timber catenary roof, highlighting wood’s potential as a cost-effective, structurally-efficient and aesthetically-pleasing building material for aquatic facilities. To date, the aquatic facility remains one of Fast + Epp’s most ambitious projects in its 30-year history.

The Structural Awards recognise the world’s most talented structural designers, showcase the projects that lead industry development, and raise awareness of structural engineers’ role as the guardians of public safety and as creative, innovative design professionals.

The event’s ultimate accolade is the Supreme Award for Structural Engineering Excellence. Previous winners include the Singapore Sports Hub; Glass Lantern, Apple Zorlu in Turkey; Taizhou Bridge in China and the London 2012 velodrome.

Read about the project in more detail at:

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