Vancouver’s Amphitheatre: One Step Closer to Completion!

Huge mass timber roof announced as the British Columbia provincial government looks to 'CleanBC'

Fri 14 Jul 23


The new PNE Amphitheatre has taken another step towards construction, with Vancouver City Council voting to approve an increase in loan financing for the project.

According to Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim, “The PNE is home to some of the best and most iconic summer experiences our city offers.”

“Once completed, the new Amphitheatre will be a world-leading performance facility.”

Vancouver Mayor Kim Sim is a strong supporter of the project and a strong supporter of Mass Timber in construction. He was elected mayor in November 2022. (Photo Credit: File photo by The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

The 10,000-seat arena at Hastings Park is expected to make a significant splash in the city’s cultural scene.

The increase in loan financing reflects updated design plans for the Amphitheatre.

The additional investment will allow the PNE to repay its loan to the City of Vancouver in a shorter timeframe on account of expected increases in revenue.

“This decision is a win for Vancouver taxpayers, a win for Vancouver’s arts and culture sector, and a win for the future of the PNE,” said Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung, PNE Chair.

“There is an unmistakable magic and excitement that comes with watching performances at the PNE.”

“This new investment will make the PNE Amphitheatre a truly world-class venue.”

Located in a vibrant area and known as ‘the heart of the park,’ the venue is expected to attract both residents and tourists.

Featuring a striking mass timber curved roof, construction of this open-air amphitheatre is scheduled to begin in 2024, with an expected completion in 2026 and an estimated cost of $65 million.

Footage courtesy of @pneplayland

Shelley Frost, the President and CEO of the Pacific National Exhibition, expressed her enthusiasm for the project, stating, “The arena will be a jewel in Vancouver’s crown of spectacular venues.”

“The project will highlight British Columbia building products and engineering while adhering to the highest environmental sustainability standards.”

“We believe there will not be another venue like this anywhere in Canada.”

In October 2021, the British Columbia provincial government released its 2030 carbon roadmap – ‘CleanBC.’

The policy supports lowering carbon emissions by 40% over the next seven years – with the government specifically highlighting the role that low embodied timbers can play in achieving this goal.

The venue will offer various amenities, including VIP suites, lounge spaces, common areas, and catering options. It will also feature accessible washrooms, merchandise sales, and food and drink concessions to accommodate all attendees.

A rendering of the new PNE amphitheatre was released by PNE last week. (Image credit: PNE)

Vancouver-based Revery Architecture designed the venue’s unique roof structure, which, when completed, will be one of the most extended clear-span roofs in the world.

Venelin Kokalov of Revery Architecture explained their approach:

“Our architectural solution was an elegant structure covering the arena, gracefully landing on three points into the landscape.”

“This gesture will frame vistas to the mountains and the surrounding context, creating transparency at the human level and an intimate atmosphere under the warmth of the wood.”

Mass-timber structure specialists, Fast + Epp Structural Engineers, handled the roof’s engineering.

Fast + Epp is at the forefront of the Canadian push towards mass timber adoption, and in 2018 developed a guide for mass timber application.

Their design consists of six-barrel vaulted segments intersecting at diagonal planes, creating a clear span of 105 meters from one buttress tip to the other.

According to Robert Jackson, a partner at Fast + Epp Structural Engineers, the form is inspired by the shell of the 1956 CNIT building in Paris.

As a hub for diverse performances and events, the theatre is expected to host 75 concerts annually, including community arts and culture shows, commercial productions, corporate events, and the popular PNE Summer Night Concerts.


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