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Kiwanis Aquatic Centre and Grantham Branch Library

St. Catharines, ON
Construction Cost: $18.675 million
Area / Square Feet: 48,000 sf
Occupancy Date: May 2012

The Kiwanis Aquatics Centre and Grantham Branch Library project responds to the city’s demand for expansion and renewal of its existing recreational, leisure and library facilities. It includes 48,000 square feet of new space, containing a large aquatics center, multi-use rooms and a branch library, as well as various associated administrative and support spaces.

The design features two splayed wings containing the building’s major program components. These wings conform to the unique geometry of the site and offer a strong relationship to the adjacent streetscape. At the heart of the design, a triangular lobby serves as the main living space of the center, with integrated viewing and lounge areas, as well as a vending niche. A unique inverted roof form lends a distinctive identity to the building, which draws inspiration from the rich tradition of park pavilions within the surrounding Niagara Region. Large overhangs and canopy elements help to control sunlight in the pool and other glare-sensitive zones, while reinforcing a fluid connection between indoors and outdoors. Extensive use of natural materials such as limestone, clay brick and Douglas fir timber further complement the natural park setting while supporting the project’s sustainable mandate.

In all cases, generous glazing was implemented throughout to maximize daylighting and views. This is complemented by a series of integrated energy, water and resource conservation measures, including embedded heat-recovery and rainwater-harvesting systems. The project is registered with the Canadian Green Building Council and is targeting LEED Silver certification.

Judge's Comments

"The roof is dramatically sloped to allow natural light in and draws one's eye skyward, making the indoor swimming space feel right. The use of materials from the earth — concrete, brick and wood — make it feel natural like swimming in a river or a lake."   — Steven Flanagan

"The simplicity of this design is what gives it strength."   — Anita Moran

"Building organization, choice of materials and elegant detailing combine to turn a simple program into an architectural centerpiece of leisure, recreation and education for the city."   — Tom Poulos