Great Plains Recreation Facility

Calgary, AB
Construction Cost: $24.75 Million (CAD)
Area / Square Feet: 80,000 sf
Occupancy Date: November 2016

The Great Plains tournament facility features two multipurpose rinks, bringing together ice sport enthusiasts from across the city for hockey, sledge, ringette and figure skating. Located on the periphery of the city of Calgary, this rural area is characterized by large, light-industrial buildings. As the civic anchor of the east city edge, the Great Plains Recreation Facility required strong place-making and bold identity, being the only social and community-focused facility in this industrial area.

An inversion of the typical arena plan creates a light-filled central social space that elevates the form of the “hockey rink” to a meaningful civic space. A typical arena arranges the team rooms at the center of the facility with seating above or on the perimeter with diffuse social spaces, but by placing the change rooms along the periphery, a central social space is created at the heart of the facility. This contiguous warm-side/cold-side viewing creates a place for social activity. In the long winter evenings, the orange glow creates a hearth-like gesture in its snowy landscape — suggesting a warm welcoming point, filtering visitors into the lobby behind.

Anticipating the city’s future recreational needs, the site was designed to allow for expansion by developing a geometry that is flipped and mirrored when it comes time to complete the quad pad complex.

Judge's Comments

"This is an elegantly designed and well-crafted project that focuses on what is important and conceals what is not." — Clint Menefee

"The connectivity to ice, coupled with natural light from above, creates a vibrant social center in the facility." — Lynn Reda

"Purposeful use of color adds warmth and vitality to the orange glass entrance." — David Sorg

Great Plains Recreation Center