Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School

Construction Cost: $39 million (Canadian)
Area / Square Feet: 236,000
Occupancy Date: December 2006

The Sportsplex — part of a project that also includes a secondary school and a theater — provides a wide range of health and fitness programs in a vibrant and light-filled setting.

Major amenities include a 12,000-square-foot aquatic center, a 10,000-square-foot gymnastics training facility, a 2,000-square-foot group exercise studio, a 3,200-square-foot strength and stretching studio and a walking/running track with expansive views. A dramatic, daylit gallery serves as a central circulation spine, linking the two principal users (school and sportsplex) and grouping the key public components.

The siting, building, elevations and choice of materials for the complex were inspired by the unique Muskoka landscape, and great care was taken to preserve the natural topography. The complex offers views of the natural landscape, as well as more intimate views of external courtyards. The facade reflects a generous use of glass, as well as wood and stone, two primary materials strongly associated with the region.

The building incorporates several innovative green-design strategies, including heat-activated natural ventilation in common circulation spaces; a reflective, single-ply membrane roof to reduce heat gain and chimney effect; and various site-design measures to maintain and integrate existing site vegetation and topography, allowing natural drainage courses to collect rainwater for reuse.

Judge's Comments

The simple mass of the pool is complemented by the glass curtainwall and the extension of the wood ceiling in the pool into the exterior soffit. This could have been overdone, but it wasn't.
— Tom Seymour

The skylight atrium is a strong design element full of life and activity. Dramatic views to the landscape allow natural daylight into the major programmatic spaces; this feature is successfully integrated into the facades of the aquatic center to successfully connect the site and landscape with the interior.
— David Dymecki

The owners got a lot of program and value for the investment, and I applaud the incorporation of many innovative green design features.
— Bill Crockett