As the largest construction project in Appleby College’s 109-year history, the A.W.B. Alumni Centre for Athletics and Student Life is a multipurpose facility designed as a new threshold to the Appleby campus. The program focuses on fitness and athletics, with additional academic and social spaces for the community’s middle and high school student populations. The project strengthens the existing axis of movement, creating a natural conduit between the main academic quadrangle and playing fields.
The Appleby College campus is located on the shore of Lake Ontario and nestled among the single-family homes in Oakville, a city 40 kilometers west of Toronto. Its spacious grounds are buffered by playing fields and a central academic quadrangle. To minimize the overall massing impact, squash courts, change rooms, storage and a double-gymnasium are placed below grade. This freed the ground level for programming that leveraged light and views, including workout rooms, academic spaces and the Campus Room — a dynamic new gathering space that functions in conjunction with the single gym and assembly hall. The main circulation stair doubles as a programmed light-well with views to an array of program spaces. Frosted skylights provide additional diffuse light to the gym and surrounding program. These strategies are used throughout the building to place health and wellness on display.
Guided by principles of sustainability and wellness, the building integrates water-, energy- and resource-management strategies and preserves views and nature zones surrounding the building. A palette of regionally sourced natural materials includes iron spot brick, copper and oak, further helping the building blend with its striking natural setting along Lake Ontario.