Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre


Surrey, BC


8,830 square metres



Structural Engineer

Fast + Epp

Construction Manager

Ellis Don

Glulam Installation / Connectors

Seagate Mass Timber

Engineered Wood Fabricator

Western Archrib



Project Materials

Glue-laminated timber (Glulam)

Structural Systems

Hybrid / Other

Low rise

Post + beam


Featuring one of the longest wood-cable roofs in the world, this is an aquatic centre that looks ready to take flight. Its pendulous, undulating glue-laminated timber beams swoop skyward.

  • Sixty-five-metre-long glulam-cable prefab roof assembled in just over a week
  • Less expensive than steel equivalent, near-all-wood design resists shrinking and won’t rust
  • Overall design reduced building volume, and in turn energy costs

Located in the centre of the province’s fastest growing municipality, Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre is designed to accommodate both international swim meets and a wide variety of community uses. A dramatically suspended all-wood roof accommodates a diving tower at one end, with platforms from one metre to 10 metres high; at the other end a spiraling full-height waterslide.

Flooded with natural light, the facility includes a competition-sized lap pool, a leisure pool complemented by two hot tubs, a sauna, a fitness centre and a poolside café.

Longest catenary wood roof in the world

Swimmers look up to a soaring 65-metre-long catenary roof, the longest clear span of its kind when it was completed. The prefabricated Douglas-fir beams were regionally sourced and crane-lifted into place in just eight days. Light but strong, the glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams act as cables. They have the tensile capacity, self-weight and inherent stiffness needed to resist wind uplift, while giving the building a sleek, curvaceous profile.

Slender glulam-design an elegant and economical solution

By forgoing the need for conventional steel cabling, which often requires expensive connectors, the slender wood-cable roof design achieves a remarkable feat with elegance and economy. The glulam is well-suited to aquatic environments characterized by high humidity. The wood structure resists shrinkage or warping due to moisture—and unlike steel it won’t rust. This pioneering glulam design, only three hundred millimetres thick, reduces the building’s volume significantly which in turn saves energy costs.