Ashburn Community Recreation Center
Loudoun County , Virginia, USA
Client : Loudoun County
Area : 123,800 sf
Program : Aquatic Center (10-Lane 50m Competition Pool, Leisure Pool, Spa, Spectator Seating, Changerooms), FIBA-Sized Gymnasium, Indoor Track, Fitness Studio, Child Care Center, Community Hall, Teaching Kitchen, Administrative and Support Spaces, Outdoor Program (Splash Pad, Play Area, Multi-Use Trail)
Associated Architects : Page
A planned aquatics facility and social hub, the Ashburn Recreation and Community Center serves a growing population of roughly 55,000 people in the affluent bedroom community of Loudon County Virginia, northeast of Washington, D.C. Home to many high-tech businesses—roughly 70 percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through it—the county was rated the second-best place to live in America in 2018. Although well-served with amenities including schools, outdoor trails, and parkland, the county has no major public place for the community to gather.
To improve Ashburn’s recreational offerings, the Center will include an aquatics hall topped by saw-tooth skylights that flood the interior with diffuse light and act as a defining architectural element visible above the roofline. In the aquatics hall, which fills the west wing of a horseshoe-shaped plan, a 10-lane, 50-metre competition pool and community leisure pool will occupy distinct basins separated by a wet classroom and double-sided lifeguards’ office, allowing dual programs to run simultaneously under observation from a single vantage point.
The Center’s middle section will include a large fitness centre and a gymnasium with a running track. A central concourse and lobby mediates the areas between the fitness centre and the exterior courtyard to the south, and between the gymnasium and the Center’s east wing, which houses a social hub and community gathering space, an early childhood centre, classrooms and multipurpose spaces, and a teaching kitchen that opens directly into the central courtyard.
Taking its cues from the surrounding topography, the structure’s design incorporates features that reference the city’s large quarry sites, as well as the adjacent tree conservation area and wetlands. The Center is surrounded by a large park, with the immediate perimeter wrapped in recreation spaces connected to the central courtyard. These programmed exterior zones are designed to encourage people to spend time outdoors: a splash pad and water feature, a fitness area, outdoor seating, ample landscaping, and a roof that extends into a generous overhanging canopy, providing the courtyard with shade.
An overhang also defines the Centre’s entry plaza, softening the transition to create a vibrant public realm and indoor–outdoor gathering space. Here, as throughout the Center, generous glazing establishes strong visual connections between the interior and the surrounding terrain, rooting the Center to its site and offering appealing views from within all its primary spaces.