Glass Canada

Vancouver landmark reopens to shine for the Olympics

January 7, 2010  By

robson_square_overhead_smallJan. 7, 2010 – Situated in the heart of downtown Vancouver, B.C., the newly renovated Robson Square ice rink will see a lot of activity during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 The newly renovated Robson Square.
Photo by Michael Elkin.

Jan. 7, 2010 – Situated in the heart of downtown Vancouver, B.C., the newly renovated Robson Square ice rink will see a lot of activity during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The skating area, temporarily renamed GE Plaza, will be the center-piece of a large government and corporate presence featuring the International Media Center and GE’s corporate pavilion from late January through late March.

Part of a $40.9 million dollar refurbishment of the downtown Robson Square complex, BC Premier Gordon Campbell described the rink as “something that says you're invited to be in Robson Square. It's an exciting, lively place to be."

“Technically, it was a very difficult job,” says Colin Rimes of Superior Glass, glazing contractor for the project. “Every single piece of glass on that dome is different. In fact, there isn’t a single piece that is even close to the same. If it wasn’t for Lami Glass being as organized as they were, we could have potentially lost tens of thousands of dollars a day in fines and penalties.”

Hard at work. All glazing on Robson
Square was completed over the course
of two weekends. Photo by Michael Elkin.

Project complexity aside, in preparation to host the world’s largest party, the City of Vancouver implemented extremely strict regulations on scheduling and logistics for all construction sites throughout the Olympic corridor. Rimes explains, “It changed at the last minute, after we had bid the job and we were told to ‘somehow make it work’. We finished glazing the whole thing with 20 guys in two back-to-back weekends. That’s all they gave us. They were 16 hour days but it was still two Saturdays and two Sundays. It was a big challenge and it was a big win for everyone.”  

On top of odd shapes and sizes, extremely tight deadlines and a complex installation, the project specified a high performance glass makeup that utilized the lowest shading coefficiency possible with the highest level of light transmission; “After all, it is an ice rink and they don’t want the sun to melt it,” says Rimes. 

Project Name: Robson Square Ice
Rink (aka GE Plaza)
Laminator: Lami Glass
Glazing Contractor: Superior Glass
Fabricator: Garibaldi Glass Industries
Lead Architect: Clive Grout Architects
Photographer: Michael Elkan
Location: Vancouver, BC
Glass makeup: 6MM Pilkington Activ
– 0.090 clear interlayer
– 6MM Pilkington Energy

Surface one is self-cleaning Pilkington Activ which is a pyrolytic coating that also offers solar control properties. It was complimented with Pilkington Energy Advantage Low E on the #3 surface and laminated with a clear 0.090 interlayer.

“Lami Glass did better on this project than any other glass supplier in the history of our company”, says Rimes. “I can’t thank everyone enough. The service provided by Claudia and the shipping department was outstanding,”

Langley, B.C. based Lami Glass, a division of Hartung Glass Industries, has provided laminated architectural safety glass solutions for over 25 years. The company has provided product to high profile projects throughout North America. For more information, please visit

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