New Aquatic Centre

 08 / 10 / 2012

We are proud to announce the recent completion of this aquatic centre in St. Catharines, led by architects Perkins + Will.
Featuring a sustainable, LEED Silver design, this facility includes a 25-metre, eight-lane, rectangular lap pool with ramp entry and built-in poolside bleachers, as well as an irregularly shaped leisure pool with spray features and a small child slide. The facility overall contains barrier-free access for persons with disabilities; on-deck and off-deck viewing for parents and guardians; change rooms, community rooms and administrative spaces. It also houses a new 7,000-square foot library branch.

The trusses over the principal pool, which span 32 meters, are a main structural feature. The glulam top chords are coupled with a system of pre-loaded high strength steel tension rods and queen posts. Connections between the steel and timber are carefully crafted and visually expressed. The robust warmth of the heavy timber top chord contrasts nicely with the slender, minimal steel detailing.

We chose wood for this building because timber is so well suited to use in aquatic centres. It manages the corrosive, high-humidity environment that results from pools and their chemicals, and requires only a shop-applied sealer for protection. Structural steel would require a complex and expensive coating system in this environment. Glulam was used as both simple beam and deck elements and knit into more complex structural assemblies.

Also, the thermal properties of timber mean that it can be used to penetrate the envelope without introducing significant thermal bridges. The architects took advantage of this property to provide visual continuity between the interior and exterior spaces.

We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this project and hope it inspires many cannonball dives from the citizens of St. Catharines.

Photo credit: Tom Arban

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