Loading up the 2010 Winter Olympics’ International Broadcast Centre

Case Studies
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The 6-acre living roof and harbor view with a mountain backdrop are perhaps the most talked about features of the recently opened Vancouver Convention Centre West facility. Serving as the International Broadcast Centre for the 2010 Winter Olympics, the new building truly is a masterpiece of design, inspiration and sustainability. Deep down, this expansion facility is more than stunning structure. It is a building that really works.

After five years of planning, building and rooftop landscaping, the new Convention Centre West building has tripled the size of the convention facilities. It now covers 1.1 million sq ft (about four city blocks) for a combined total of 473,523 sq ft of pre-function, meeting, exhibition and ballroom space. The Vancouver Convention Centre hosts multiple events simultaneously, each with its own separate access and function spaces. Because of this capability, and because the building is partially built over Burrard Inlet, the facility has to handle uniquely complex delivery needs.

Although it’s a side the public seldom sees, it was the basement loading court that presented some of the greatest access design challenges. Typical of high-density urban locations, loading all happens below street level and under the structure. Having loading areas under street level contains the noise and the visual intrusion of large delivery vehicles.

However, it also presents unique maneuvering challenges for those megatrucks within building confines.

To accommodate the needs of the new facility, 24 loading bays, 18 of which had to accommodate up to a WB-20 design vehicle—a 22.7-meter-long semitrailer—were required. To further complicate matters, three ramps were required to connect the loading court area up to the exhibit hall level, providing large truck access directly into the exhibit hall areas within the building. Figure 2 shows the swept path for a WB-20’s maneuvering within the confines of the columns and loading ramps in part of the Convention Centre loading court. This illustrates how the angled bays were aligned within the 13.6-meter column spacing and how trucks still have space to turn around.

Before the days of computerized swept-path design, designing this part of the facility would have been a slow, iterative process using turning templates. With Transoft Solutions’ AutoTURN , vehicle swept-path analysis and turn software, it is easy to replicate standard or custom vehicle types, and the software includes the ability to simulate realistic turning maneuvers with front- and rear-steered vehicles.

“Efficient movement of large trucks through the loading court facility is essential to the successful move-in/move-out of large exhibitions, and with the assistance of [the software], we were confident that we had a good design,” said Peter Joyce, P.E., president of Bunt & Associates Engineering Ltd. They were the transportation consultants to the project.

Even the most challenging vehicle access projects, such as the Convention Centre, can be easily navigated in AutoTURN. The ability to perform intricate vehicle movements from a wide array of vehicle types reliably delivers the ideal layout.

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