Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Autodesk: Software helps engineering firm create the Richmond Olympic Oval wave roof for the 2010 Winter Olympics

August 25, 2010
By Mary Del

THE COMPANY: B.C.-based StructureCraft Builders Inc. harnesses master-craftsmen traditions, sophisticated engineering and modern construction techniques to create complex structures. The company recently demonstrated its engineering and design prowess in building the now iconic roof for the 2010 Richmond Olympic Oval. 

THE CHALLENGE: StructureCraft has earned particular recognition for its exposed wood and timber structures. But designing wood structures does have its challenges – in particular, balancing aesthetics and function. Not only did the Olympic Oval roof need to be beautiful, it had to control and dampen echoes, as well as hide electrical, mechanical and sprinkler systems.

In addition, StructureCraft co-ordinates and communicates with a wide range of stakeholders on projects, from the project owner and architect to manufacturers and subcontractors.

THE STRATEGY: Co-ordinating a project such as this without visual models would be nearly impossible. StructureCraft relied on Autodesk Inventor software, which helped the company to iterate complex design options more quickly, co-ordinate with subcontractors and project partners, communicate designs clearly to stakeholders, and streamline fabrication.


To meet the acoustical and aesthetic requirements of the Richmond Oval roof, StructureCraft explored in Autodesk Inventor software the many different options for the pattern that ultimately drove the WoodWave roof panel design.

For project co-ordination, Autodesk Inventor incorporated components from other trades and manufacturers into its design. StructureCraft credits the interoperability and extensive user base of Autodesk software with making co-ordination with trades and manufacturers easier, allowing them to efficiently share data with subcontractors. And if an issue arose, StructureCraft could pass along the information to the appropriate trade accurately and quickly.

THE RESULTS: By making the data manageable, StructureCraft was able explore design changes easily, and keep complexity at bay. With help from Autodesk Inventor software, StructureCraft completed the Richmond Olympic Oval project on aggressive schedules, meeting the complex design requirements within budget.

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