Photo: A-Frame Studio

Wood's Architectural Appeal Creates In-Demand Community Centre

This architecturally stunning community centre includes an aquatics centre, gymnasium, two skating rinks, multipurpose rooms and a library. To complement the surrounding landscape, wood was utilized in the roof construction of the aquatics centre and library, and throughout the main common spaces. Large overhanging roof elements and canopies soften the edges of the building and offer a visual attraction both inside and out. The aquatics centre roof is comprised of tongue-and-groove decking supported by glulam beams and steel columns. In addition to aesthetics, structural wood products are appropriate for aquatic centres because wood is not affected by swimming pool water purification chemicals. The library features exposed glulam beams, tongue-and-groove decking and large porch elements constructed from heavy timber beams and cedar slats.

Project Details

Situated adjacent to Toronto, Markham, Ontario is a fast-growing community with a burgeoning need for recreational facilities. To help meet this demand, the Angus Glen Community Centre and Library was designed to provide a first-class recreational experience for one area of Markham.

The centre is situated on a 6.5 hectare (16 acre) site (Figure 1) and includes two skating rinks, a gymnasium, an Aquatics Centre, change rooms, multi-purpose rooms, and a district Library.

The building has been enthusiastically endorsed by the public, with huge demand for the various swimming programs, hockey leagues and community clubs. In its first year, the building attracted 1.2 million visitors with demand for all activities far exceeding initial projections.

The Library is but one example of this success, breaking all records for Library visits in Markham with an average 11,000 users per week.

Much of the architectural appeal of the centre can be attributed to the use of wood as the key structural material in the Aquatics Centre, Library, the main entrances and ‘main street’ corridors, and decoratively in several other locations. The glued-laminated (glulam) roof structure, especially the one in the Aquatics Centre, has resulted in numerous inquiries from passers-by and visiting municipal officials interested in replicating the success of the Angus Glen Community Centre and Library in their own municipalities.

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