The recreation centre offers numerous amenities, including a lane swimming pool, whirl pool and leisure pools, a water slide, a field house, a running track, a gymnasium, children’s play area, multipurpose rooms for art, cultural and social activities, and a fitness centre.
The large sculptural forms of the building create an imposing gesture that respects the iconic form of the stadium, but also connects well with the human scale of the plaza. The project builds on and expands the 1978 facilities, combining stadium activities, football operations, and a fitness and community centre.
The new four-storey construction adjoins the south end of the stadium and projects outwards in a triangulated plan. Three main masses–gymnasium, aquatics area and field house–define the structure and frame a central lobby. Built into the canted geometry of the site, the facility meets the underbelly of the stadium, filling in awkward angles and underused spaces.
A façade clad with standing-seam metal siding begins at ground level and angles upwards to form a canopy above the main entrance. Generous ceramic-fritted glazing offers partial views into the pool, lobby and upper floor fitness area, where patrons on treadmills run their interminable race.
To the west, the frontage zigzags around the indoor field house, dipping below grade for delivery and service areas. The generous use of reflective and transparent surfaces results in a striking interplay of light and shadow, with views through and beyond the building. From the central lobby, the three distinct masses of the building are discernible.
Deep window wells overlook the gymnasium one storey below, while on another side, an enclosed poolside lounge is furnished with lozenge-shaped seats and tables. Lining the glass wall that separates the field house from the lobby, poured concrete benches evoke Le Corbusier’s integrated chaise longue at Villa Savoye. Across the green expanse of artificial turf, further glazing allows for views of the adjacent grounds and stadium outbuildings.
This connection of interior and exterior expands the sense of space around the indoor field, resulting in an open-span structure that seemingly hovers above the ground plane. With its curlicue waterslide, spurting fountains and heated whirlpool, the light-filled aquatics area is a delight for children as well as adults inclined to messing about in water.
The lap pool has a tendency to be usurped by non-lap swimmers, but this is perhaps more an issue of education than of architecture. Each pool has a gently sloping access ramp for patrons with reduced mobility, particularly appreciated by this writer with a knee injury and sore back.
Balancing transparency and obscurity is a theme throughout the building, apparent in the dot patterning on interior and exterior glazing. The frit pattern in the fitness area, for example, increases in density as the weight machines become heavier, creating a visual parallel to the requisite muscular exertions.
In keeping with its environmental goals, the City of Edmonton will apply to have the facility LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) Silver-certified, a designation indicating that the building meets a set of stringent standards for minimizing its impact on the environment. This LEED NC Silver/Green Building Technology building consisted of several phases. The Field House is a 90,000 sq foot, three level training facility for the Edmonton Eskimos.
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Architects of Record: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects, HIP Architects
Project Team: Ted Watson, Viktors Jaunkalns, Aaron Letki, Andrew Filarski, John Maclennan, Lukasz Kos, Troy Wright, Kyung Sung Hor, Jason Wah, Cohen Chen, Bi-Ying Mao, James Andrachuk, Siri Ursin, Stewart Inglis, Craig Hendersen, Erwin Rauscher, Gareth Leach, Jim Dobey, Brent Conner, Christian Paroyan, Bob Murray
Structural: Read Jones Christoffersen Engineering
Mechanical/Electrical: Hemisphere Engineering
Landscape/Civil: ISL Engineering
Contractor: Clark Builders
Code: David Hine Engineering Inc.
Specifications: Digicon Information inc.
Sustainability: Cobalt Engineering
Geotechnical: EBA Enginneering
Envelope: Building Science Engineering Ltd.
Area: 220,000 ft2
Budget: $96 M
Client: City of Edmonton and The Edmonton Eskimo Football Club