Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre & Edmonton Eskimos' Field House
Client : City of Edmonton
Area : 220,000 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (4-Lane 25m Lap Pool, Leisure Pool, Therapy Pool, Activity Area, Water Slide, Spectator Seating, Changerooms), Field House, Double Gymnasium, Fitness Centre, Yoga Studios, Indoor Track, Child Care Centre, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Administrative and Support Spaces
Completion : September 2012
ISSUU Link : https://issuu.com/mjmarchitects/docs/ccrc
Associated Architects : HIP Architects
The Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre forms a new complex in Edmonton with the adaptive re-use of the 1978 Commonwealth Stadium’s existing fitness centre at its core. Vastly expanding the original structure’s capacity, the new Centre consolidates vacant stadium grounds and residual outbuildings within a unified urban park, reprogramming the facility for use by three groups: the Edmonton Eskimos pro football team, stadium operations, and the wider community.
The expanded Centre is conceived as three converging masses that respond to the site, a triangle bounded by the stadium, its access road, and a secondary playing field. The gymnasium—centered on the existing condition—now contains basketball courts, team locker rooms, team administration and meeting rooms, a media lounge, the box seats’ balcony and patio, and community rooms. The aquatics wing to the southeast houses two levels of change rooms, additional administrative space, and an aquatics hall including lap and leisure pools, while the new field house to the southwest comprises indoor athletics fields and a high-performance strength and conditioning centre. These three masses in turn frame the structure’s social heart, drawing visitors from three directions into a lobby and reception area flanked by community rooms and aerobics studios.
Rising to a height of three storeys, the structure includes copious space for multiple needs—60,000 square feet of recreation space, 20,000 square feet of fitness and studio space, 30,000 square feet of community space, 80,000 square feet of athletics fields, and 30,000 square feet of space devoted to the team and its management, as well as all the support spaces a large, multiuse recreation centre requires, from child care to meeting rooms. This program supports the activities of multiple groups while sharing amenities between them: the team uses the public pool, track and fitness centre for training; the community uses the team’s field house and meeting spaces during the off-season; and stadium operations hosts functions in the community spaces during concerts and other major events.
The Centre is scaled to balance the adjacent stadium, with sculpted faces suggestive of dynamic motion. The prow-like shape of the aquatics wing evokes forward momentum, extending into a canopy over the entryway and perimeter to the south, unifying the roofline across masses, and shielding the entryway from the elements. While the outer cladding is metallic, specified to the PERSIST standard, this canopy’s underside gives the appearance of being whittled back, and is panelled with tessellating facets of phenolic wood in a warmer hue that distinguishes the Centre’s entry points.