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Emerald Hills Leisure Centre (2016)

22 Mar 2017
Image Credit: Shai Gil
Architectural Credit: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd. + MTA
Location: Sherwood Park, Alberta
Architects: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd. + MTA
Date of Completion: 2016

OAA Awards 2017 Design Excellence Finalist 

Emerald Hills Leisure Centre is a 55,000 s.f. new build customized Aquatic facility that caters specifically to leisure, therapeutic, and learn to swim programming. It is designed to deliver county wide ‘Learn to Swim’ and ‘Wellness’ programs to Strathcona County’s growing population, in partnership with an adjoining High School.

Diagram Credit: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects Ltd. + MTA

Formally the building is a simple and affordable ‘big box’ volume designed to have a sense of lightness and dynamic movement. The building’s trapezoidal plan is created by maximizing the buildable footprint to the site setbacks. The mono slope roof drains diagonally to provide maximum natatorium volume, and clerestory daylighting with a low height to the rear courtyard. White triangulated standing seam panels float above a black precast base and incorporate four triangulated glazing locations. Interior acoustic surfaces and ceiling are triangulated above a black hexagonally tiled base to create a serene, unified and high quality sonic environment.

Photo Credit: Shai Gil

The program includes a six lane 24 metre lap pool, adjustable floor therapy pool, tot pool, whirl pool, and steam room. The facility features a fully transparent gender neutral universal change room accessible and inclusive for all. An upper level ‘shell space’ is provided above the change rooms as a future fitness centre. The aquatic hall and lobby are conceived of as a singular sculpted volume that defines the new social hub of the community. Existing gymnasia, auditoria and classrooms are shared with the Aquatic centre to create a vibrant evening community centre for the greater community. The building takes advantage of views and prominence to the adjacent storm water pond and creates a unique and highly landscaped internal courtyard for viewing from both facilities.

Change Rooms 
Photo Credit: Shai Gil 

Accessibility and inclusivity goals were of high priority, all pools have ramps and the teaching pool has a movable floor. Highly transparent universal change rooms and advanced accessible change rooms will set the bar into the County’s future.
A key building feature is the filtration system – a saltwater Wapotec system from Germany that has a lower than normal chlorine requirement. The HydroSan flocculant filtration process removes organics to achieve European DIN standards, providing the highest level of water clarity and air quality. 

North-West Elevation
Photo Credit: Shai Gil

The project is a model for partnerships between schools and wellness facilities to promote indoor and outdoor recreation and health. The County maximizes utilization of both the pool and the school with joint use agreements and sees potential to connect for rehabilitation and therapy, given the proximity to a new hospital complex.

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