Architectural Credit: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd.
Location: Kitchener, Ontario
Architects: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd.
Date of Completion: 2016
OAA Awards 2017 Design Excellence Finalist
The Student Recreation Centre - located on Conestoga’s Doon Campus in Kitchener- is a renovation and expansion that restores an aging athletic facility and transforms it into a dynamic hub for student life, activity, and wellness. Working closely with the College and Students Association, the facility is reimagined as a central hub of campus life, where in addition to fitness, students can congregate, find healthy food options, and receive counseling and therapy.
(top) Photo Credit: Shai Gil (bottom)
Photo Credit: Strassman Architects Inc.
Diagram Credit: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd.
The existing facility housed a gymnasium and an underutilized arena. The redesign updates the existing gym and adaptively reuses the arena as a new triple-gym and track, with a large student commons and classrooms at the second-level concourse. Furthermore, the main entrance is reoriented towards the campus -rather than towards the parking lot as in the existing plan- to engage the campus and increase connectivity. A student plaza and covered walkway at the entrance offer improved opportunity for social interaction, pedestrian movement, and help humanize the campus.
Adaptively Reused Gymnasium
Photo Credit: Shai Gil
The primary sustainable initiative is retaining and renovation of the existing arena shell, although the original project brief called its demolition and a design of a new pre-engineered building to house student and fitness space. The retrofit not only saved on capital costs, but it retains a very beautiful and useful shell that is successfully repurposed. The existing areas are reroofed and insulated for increased thermal performance. The renovation introduces natural light throughout the new gymnasium and running track to greatly reduce electrical lighting load. Furthermore, all glazing utilizes frit patterns to manage solar gain and all lighting is replaced or designed with LED.
Photo Credit: Shai Gil
The development of this project type is crucial to the attraction and retention of students. The new expansion is visually open and projects out to the campus, displaying the activities within and inviting participation. This new student centric face on campus reflects the critical importance of fitness and wellness in campus life. The transformation into a vibrant fitness, wellness, and student activity complex is in harmony with ‘fitness for life’ goals of modern academic institutions over the traditional pursuit of pure athletics.