Loyalist Township Sustainable Community Hub
Client : Township of Loyalist
Area : 138, 600 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (4-Lane 25m Lap Pool, Therapeutic Pool, Viewing Gallery, Splash Pad, Changerooms), Single-Pad Arena (Spectator Seating, Pro Shop, Changerooms), Net-Zero Municpal Building (Offices, County Library, Administrative and Support Spaces), Double Gymnasium, Fitness Studios, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Catering Kitchen
The Sustainable Community Hub will serve the entire population of Loyalist Township—some 17,000 people. More than half of these users live in the surrounding town of Amherstview, Ontario, with easy access to the Hub’s pre-existing structure, the W.J. Recreation Facility. MJMA’s plan renovates and expands this facility—which currently includes a public library, ice rink, and lap pool—into a new community hub with a pronounced emphasis on sustainability. This expansion will promote not only environmental wellbeing, but its economic and social benefits as well, all while making the Hub more accessible and inclusive of all users.
While the Hub is angled on its site to meet visitors entering Amherstview from the greater township, this siting and form are shaped by the underlying geography: layers of limestone that step down sharply across the site, inspiring the final split-level design. Users can enter at the upper floor, level with top of the arena’s bleachers, and descend to the level of the ice below. Similarly, the swimming pool is shallow at the high end of the site, its bottom dropping toward the deep end following the underlying bedrock.
The Hub’s interior program will address three major areas of need: recreation (including an aquatics hall with both lap and therapeutic pools, a double gymnasium, fitness studio, ice rink, change rooms and support spaces), community (with a visual arts workshop, multipurpose rooms and support spaces), and civic (new municipal offices, a county library and county social services).
These elements are organized around a new exterior courtyard flanked by an interior circulation route that joins the recreational facility and library to the municipal building. This civic courtyard—whose design is inspired by the layered limestone of local environment—will link to all parts of the building and be visible throughout it via glazed walls, and can host additional exterior programming including public skating, a splash pad, bonfire pits and other civic events.
The Hub is a bold expression of the Township’s dedication to sustainability leadership, especially the new administration building’s projected net-zero energy use. This ambitious goal will be achieved through the use of a PV array capable of fully offsetting the building’s annual power consumption, as well as a host of strategies for lowering that consumption—including heat pumps and heat recovery, extensive use of daylighting and LEDs, and a high-performance, high-efficiency building envelope.