NCC Rideau Canal Skateway Chalets

Structural Designer

Halsall Associates

Client Name

National Capital Commission (NCC)


Ottawa, Canada

Images: © Gordon King


At almost 8km in length, the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa is the world’s longest naturally-frozen skating rink, and is enjoyed by some one million visitors annually. The popularity of this leisure asset encouraged the National Capital Commission to upgrade the original ageing access and changing facilities by providing a series of new attractive, seasonally-removable chalets to comply with current DDA requirements and meet stringent energy consumption limits. The structural engineer took this brief to a higher level by designing a lightweight skeletal steel frame in which economy of repetition allowed the provision of elegantly-sculpted bespoke principal frame members that are left exposed to add visual interest, while also creating the graceful, curved profile sought by the architect. 

Judge's comment:

The NCC Rideau Skateway Chalets provide a high-profile example of the art and science of structural engineering, while also meeting demanding sustainability criteria through the choice of a lightweight skeletal steel frame, timber decking and sheathing and high-durability zinc roof cladding. The chalets each rest on just four permanent support points, and thus ‘Touch the Earth Lightly’ in both a literal and figurative sense.

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