Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre

Hamilton, ON
Construction Cost: $22.13 million (Canadian)
Area / Square Feet: 55,140 sf
Occupancy Date: November 2018

The Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre is designed to create a unified environment that not only links to existing structures on-site but also joins the site to neighboring attractions. The Centre, occupying the site’s northeast corner, adjoins to the heritage Jimmy Thompson Memorial Pool along its southeast edge, forming a continuous facade along the new east-facing elevation.

Together, the Centre and pool occupy a hockey stick-shaped footprint that wraps around parking to the south; to the north, it frames an outdoor recreation area visually contiguous with the large plaza outside the adjacent Tim Hortons Field, a Canadian Football League stadium.

Alongside existing facilities, the Centre expands the area’s recreation amenities into a fully rounded health and wellness district at the heart of the city, making a healthy lifestyle accessible to a broad range of local users. Within the new Centre are a leisure pool, a multi-use gymnasium and walking track, rentable rooms and activity rooms, including dedicated youth and senior spaces, and a commercial kitchen, café and lounge with views overlooking exterior program elements. Outside, the Centre offers a park space that connects it to both the pool and the secondary school that shares the site, as well as a summer splash pad that doubles as a winter skating loop.

The facility’s glazed perimeter circulation offers an excellent visual connection from the interior to the exterior. Extended vertically to the upper stories, this glazing offers strategic visual connections between the Centre and the existing facility. Here, uninterrupted access reaches all the way from parking to the wheelchair viewing platforms of the pool’s upper seating level. This extensive glazing, combined with more than 60 square meters of skylights, ensures optimal daylighting throughout the interior, significantly drawing down electrical demands and offering views to the sky throughout the building.

Bernie Morelli Recreation Centre

Judge's Comments

“The interior detailing and materiality of this project are incredible. I admire the design team’s seamless integration of mechanical systems into the project.” — William Schenck

“The simplicity in form and material restraint enhances the crisp detailing and richness of materiality through the project. Sophisticated interior, with contrasting stone and warm wood that is bathed in daylight.” — Indy Dehal“

The reserved exterior design of this project is bold and beautiful. However, the vertical windows are expressed in a random pattern, giving the building unexpected playfulness. The interiors really shine with their consistent cool, neutral tones complemented by a warm and intricate wood-slatted ceiling in most of the major spaces.” — Tracy Carusi