MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects has been introducing wood to indoor aquatic environments for 20 years — starting with decks, then moving to wall cladding and ultimately ceilings.
Regent Park Aquatic Centre, which opened in the firm's hometown Toronto in 2012, represents MJM's most robust wood ceiling effort to date, with fire-retardant red cedar spanning 14,000 square feet over the water surface. The stained 2-by-2 slats, which lend perceived warmth to the facility interior, are backed by a black acoustic insulation to dampen sound. The end result of adding $100,000 (Canadian) to the $4.8 million total project cost is a calming environment not common to municipal aquatic centers. "A lot of pools don't have ceilings, so you get a lot of exposed structure — which can have its charm," says David Miller, MJM principal in charge on the project. "But we like this approach. The ceiling gives the sense of a complete room, a feature room."