The Emerald Hills Leisure Centre by MJMA and MTa caters specifically to leisure, therapeutic, and learn-to-swim programming. The facility in Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada is co-joined to an existing Catholic High School with an operating partnership to create a shared ‘Community Centre’ as well as aquatic programming for students. The aquatic hall and lobby are conceived of as a singular sculpted volume that defines the new social hub of the community. The existing gymnasium, auditorium, and classrooms are shared with the aquatic facility to create a vibrant evening community center for the greater community. The County maximizes utilization of both the pool and the school with joint use agreements with opportunities to connect for rehabilitation and therapy, given the proximity to a new hospital complex.
The aquatic center includes a 6-lane 25-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 center. 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 pre cast 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. Responding to the Northern Alberta climate the building’s triple glazed openings are minimized to four strategic locations and shaped to maximize their effect. The amount of glazing is specifically located low at deck level for views to landscaped areas to the west and located high on the front elevation to bounce light off the ceiling structure — resulting in maximum low-glare lighting distribution.
A key building feature is the filtration system — a salt-water German Wapotec system 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.
Images © Shai Gil