Building of the Month – West Fraser Centre & Quesnel Arena

Photo courtesy of VVI Construction Ltd

West Fraser Centre & Quesnel Arena

Project Overview

Wood is the natural choice of building material in this small northern city, located at the confluence of the Fraser and Quesnel Rivers in B.C.’s Cariboo region, where forestry is key to the community’s livelihood and economy. Locally sourced cross-laminated timber (CLT) and other wood products are central to the design of this professional-sized hockey arena, which is used for a wide variety of events.

Upon arrival, visitors enter a double-height glass atrium with a roof and interior walls constructed of CLT. Wood is left exposed in the lobby, along with the stairwell and a smaller foyer, giving these spaces natural warmth and insulation. The large roof structure of the main arena space is framed with curved steel girder trusses that are accented by an attractive wood-slatted ceiling assembly. The insulated ceiling serves double duty, concealing mechanical services while absorbing sound and improving acoustics—so much so that it’s a suitable venue for anything from hockey games to music concerts, making the centre a recreational and cultural hub for the area.

With forestry being a central component of Quesnel’s economy, it was natural for community leaders to further the area’s culture of wood by featuring it as a key structural and finishing component of their new arena. The two-storey facility is a focal point for the community and will also serve as a venue for live entertainment, trade shows and community events. Wood for the slat ceiling assembly came from the local mills around Quesnel, and installation kept an on-site crew of six workers busy for roughly eight weeks.

Photo courtesy of HDR ©2017 Sunny Jhooty


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Given Quesnel’s strong links to forestry and the wood industry, it was important for our community to incorporate wood. The wood ceiling provides an aesthetically appealing environment while also serving important functional purposes, concealing mechanical infrastructure and improving the building’s acoustic performance.

Jeff Norburn, Director of Community Services, City of Quesnel