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Dalhousie University Dalplex Fitness Centre

Halifax, NS
Construction Cost: 17,138,270.00
Area / Square Feet: 57,000
Occupancy Date: May 2018

Designed to connect with existing facilities slotted for future refurbishment or redevelopment, the Dalplex Fitness Centre expansion creates a new entrance, control point and public face for athletic programming.

The facility’s first-floor functions are structured in a solid concrete framework, retaining the earth with modest and controlled openings to allow for access, views and light. Along the main throughway, the facility’s northern elevation and second floor reads as a single-story structure with a generous landscaped setback. The primary massing gesture gently tilts the west facade with a slight overhang that signals to users the facility’s north-south entrance locations.

Composed of aluminum composite panels, and arranged in a repetitive rectangular pattern, the custom matte black surface of the building exterior creates a distinctly modern quality that celebrates — rather than competes with — the campus’s surrounding heritage assets. Across the large expanse of the level-two fitness hall, flush curtain wall detailing to the adjacent aluminum paneling creates the impression of a tautly stretched skin across the facade, while vertical incisions cut along the length of the corridors create deep punches in the building’s otherwise uniform skin, delivering light and views into the facility’s interior functions.

Boston Ivy covers the concrete retaining wall leading to and from the entrances. Native Aspens, planted in a linear grove, filter views and provide a backdrop to internal activities, while carefully preserved mature oak trees and existing old stone walls establish clear circulation patterns.

Dalplex Fitness Centre

Judge's Comments

“I really like the clear, powerful forms combined with the natural material palette. You can imagine being inside this facility, as a combination of daylight and activity bring it to life.” — Jon Niemuth

“An elegant solution that is supported by the clean lines and simplicity of the landscape architecture. Simply a great design.” — Arash Izadi

“The strong modern sculptural form anchors the building and invites users to come inside.” — Michael Hessert