Inspired by the traditional farmstead architecture of the region, the Newcastle Community Centre consciously draws from elements of the vernacular in its overall form, materials and construction techniques.
A series of heavy timber-framed sloping roofs define a sheltered entry and signify the respective program volumes of the aquatics center, multiuse room and gymnasium. The building is divided into two levels, which mediate the site’s natural grade changes. On the uppermost level, aligned with the street, the building establishes a strong urban edge defined by the canted Galvalume-clad wall of the pool. Along this face, a low wood-framed window extending the length of the pool offers a compelling glimpse of the activities within while respecting the scale of the surrounding residential neighborhood.
Internally, a lounge with a large central fireplace dominates the main common spaces, creating a strong social focus and a warm and inviting area from which to watch the various activities. Fluid integration of meeting rooms and social spaces helps foster greater interaction and a stronger sense of community.
The facility’s order extends into the surrounding landscape, creating a series of terraces that organize parking, drop-off zones and building levels. A secondary phase will see a twin-pad ice arena occupy the lowest terrace of the site, allowing the natural landforms to be preserved while screening the rinks and associated services.
The exterior character and form is wonderfully bold and very enjoyable. I especially enjoy the focus on meaningful details, like the sound panels that line the upper part of the natatorium and reinforce the obtuse angle of the building structure.
— Jack Patton
The building offers an appropriate interpretation of the local farmstead vernacular through the integration of regional materials, forms and detailing.
— David Dymecki
As opposed to numerous submitted schemes that left the large public halls with exposed, utilitarian structure and ceilings, the center's rooms are defined by crisply detailed custom steel portals and beautifully executed heavy timber walls that wrap into ceilings.
— Vik Jaunkalns