The Agrium Western Event Centre has quickly become a place for the agricultural community and the city to connect. Housing a 2,600-seat arena, an exhibition hall and a signature piece of architecture at the rotunda entrance, this world class facility is functional, unique and happily accommodates both two-legged and four-legged visitors. It is challenging to conceive a building that draws attention from such an array of visitors; from cattle auctions to conferences, cows to cowboys, all facets of urban and rural life were considered when undertaking this massive project.
The story of the Agrium Western Event Centre is also a testament to the possibilities for structural design. RJC maximized the benefits of both precast concrete and structural steel to simultaneously achieve high-quality architectural finishes, functionality, economy and speed of construction. Our creative and flexible approach addressed the short-term challenges of the temporary stability of this hybrid structure during construction, as well as meeting the building’s long-term needs.
The design team was able to provide a cost effective, functional structure, while still addressing the many facets to the building’s existence. Unobstructed views of the arena for the audience were provided by placing the structural columns at the top of the seating bowl. Lightweight structural steel was used for the long clear span of the curved roof and the lower level concourse roof used to buttress against lateral forces. Concrete was more suitable for the lower parts of the building for durability and fire rating issues and precast was chosen. This could be fabricated off-site concurrently with construction of the foundations, shaving months off the project schedule. It also provided the consistent, high-quality architectural finish visualized for the walls. Insulated composite panels were designed for the exhibition hall from floor to roof. Exposed precast concrete was also used for the circular structure of the rotunda with steel used for the curved frame – providing flexibility of shape and maximizing the openness of the glass entry. This hybrid combination of precast concrete and steel throughout the structure maximized the benefits of each material and contributed to the aesthetics of the building.