The Laurier Brantford YMCA is a dynamic community resource and a new model for community and collegiate recreation. The first YMCA in the world co-owned with an academic institution, the building unites the regional YMCA and Wilfrid Laurier University. The design team engaged the two clients and the community in a highly collaborative process to ensure all ideas and possibilities were covered and all needs best met.
Located at the confluence of a dynamic city edge, the center is conceived as an integrated design that offers the public a unified and cohesive experience, asserting a new identity to the block and city as a whole. The design focuses on three themes — memory, movement and landscape — as it draws upon the rhythms and patterns of buildings that previously filled the location while creating new possibilities. The center is equipped with gyms, pools, meeting spaces, health clinic space and related areas to support residents and community events.
The Laurier Brantford YMCA brings exciting new health and wellness opportunities to students and the local community, rejuvenates the city’s urban core, and is proving a social equity change agent. The university has long been celebrated for its history of championing adaptive reuse in downtown Brantford, as the school has revived and repurposed multiple formerly neglected properties in the city’s diminished downtown core. The intention of the new YMCA is to ignite pedestrian traffic to the area and reanimate business in the historic smaller storefronts.
“Innovative design and creative funding solutions combine seemingly disparate uses of public health services and collegiate athletics in this facility with a commendable goal to rejuvenate the existing urban core. I appreciate the team’s fenestration design studies, clever massing on a steep site and powerful yet simple and elegant exterior design.” — Katie Barnes
“The cantilevered mass creates an engaging and iconic form within the community.” — William Schenck