Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame opens in Calgary on Wednesday

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame opens in Calgary on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, showcasing the nation’s greatest athletes in a building inspired by Canada’s sports heritage.

Designed by Calgary firm Stantec, working for project manager and design builder CANA, the 4,088-square-metre (44,000-square-foot) facility is composed of three main elements – the exhibit hall, retail and office space, and ancillary spaces for storage and loading – all connected by a two-and-a-half-storey atrium.

The building’s design was inspired by both the magnificence of world-class athletes and by the basic symbol of Canadian culture itself: the maple leaf. Its deep red and white façade reflects the Canadian flag, while the cantilevered, somewhat “tilted” structure echoes the successive elevated platforms athletes stand upon when receiving medals and other accolades.

“With the building’s soaring glass entryway and rising elevation into the exhibits, we want visitors to experience their own ascension into sports history and pride in celebrating the best of Canadian sport,” says Enzo Vicenzino, senior principal at Stantec and lead architect of the project. “Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame reinstates a venue for honouring our athletes in a building worthy of showcasing such impressive achievements.”

The unique configuration of the building presented a number of challenges for the design and construction team. The main feature of the facility – the exhibit hall – was purposely designed on an upper level of the building with more area than the level below to give the appearance of floating above the ground. Conventional support columns and beams would spoil that aesthetic, so the floor was designed to cantilever the 12 metres (39.4 feet) between levels. In this cantilevered floor area, stepped floors feature exhibit galleries and interactive displays about individual sports.

“Constructing such a striking building with these kinds of structural complexities was a challenge,” says Colin Tee, project manager for CANA Construction. “But the end result is a truly magnificent facility and we’re extremely proud to have been a part of its creation.”

CANA served as the project manager and design builder for Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The architecture, interior design, structural engineering, and landscape architecture were led by Stantec. The firm’s sustainability consultants also designed the building’s many green features – including its efficient mechanical design and building envelope – which contribute to its LEED Gold certification target. The project’s mechanical engineer was Wiebe Forest Engineering (now SNC Lavalin), the electrical engineer was Stebnicki + Partners, and the exhibit designer was Cambridge Seven Associates (C7A).