PNE reveals plans for new amphitheatre design

The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) in Vancouver has revealed the concept for a new state-of-the-art amphitheatre.

The theatre, which will host shows and concerts, is expected to hold roughly 10,000 people.

“The amphitheatre will be a jewel in Vancouver’s crown of spectacular venues,” PNE President and CEO Shelley Frost said. “The project will be designed to showcase British Columbia building products and engineering while adhering to the highest standards of environmental sustainability.”

When completed, the organization says the amphitheatre’s roof will be longer than the Richmond Oval’s, and will be “one of the longest clear-span roofs in the world.”

“The structural form is comprised of six-barrel vaulted segments intersecting at diagonal planes, creating a clear span of 105m (345’) from buttress tip to buttress tip. The form…harnesses the compression capacity of mass timber, a sustainable and local material, using it for both the ribs and the deck. What resulted is one of the longest timber arch roofs in the world – a true blend of architecture and structure,” Robert Jackson, Partner at Fast + Epp Structural Engineers, explained.

The design is by a Vancouver-based architecture company, and a spokesperson for the business says they wanted to create “a unique experience for both the audience and performers.”

“Our architectural solution was an elegant structure that will cover the amphitheatre, 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,” Venelin Kokalov with Revery Architecture said in a release.

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“When complete, the venue will be used to host a wide variety of music and culture events – ranging from our incredibly popular Summer Night Concerts at the PNE Fair, to arts and culture performances by symphony’s, cultural innovators, community organizations and others,” Frost said.

“With the beautiful B.C. mountains in the background, with a clear-span wood roof that is not only striking but also engineered to act as a significant sound barrier to mitigate noise bleed into the surrounding community, we believe there will not be another venue like this anywhere in Canada.” 

The PNE says the plans have been in the works for years, and construction is slated to start in early 2024 and finish in the summer of 2026.

With files from Mike Gazzola

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