MacBain Community Centre & Niagara Falls Library
Niagara Falls , Ontario
Client : City of Niagara Falls / YMCA of Niagara / Niagara Falls Public Library
Area : 104,200 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre, Gymnasium with Running Track, Fitness Centre, Branch Library, Multi-Purpose Community Rooms, Childcare, Older Adults Centre, Health Centre
Completion : September 2006
Associated Architects : Chapman Murray Architects
The MacBain Community Centre in Niagara Falls, condenses several collective community programs – a YMCA, a branch of the Niagara Falls Public Library, municipal offices for the Town of Niagara Falls Department of Community Services, a Daycare Centre, Coronation 50 Plus Seniors Centre, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Niagara, as well as private health care providers – into one civic project.
The location of the multi-use facility was determined by the need for public programs in an underserviced residential area of the Town, directly west of the major highway. A former dumpsite for excavated material and rock from the Niagara Falls Power Commission’s turn of the century canal excavations, the project was intended to restore site conditions, natural drainage patterns, and to replant the area north of the building as parkland.
The open planning organizes the major public partners around a continuous, linear central core of large public rooms – the aquatic centre, large gymnasium, and library – forming the social heart of the building with radiating groups of users able to share this centre. It maximizes shared access and internal transparency to the central lobby from all of the program areas, with direct views and access to landscaped areas.
The result of the mutual support of the public functions is a financial and operational saving; the merging of the institutions results in demonstrably more efficient staffing and energy savings. The result also produces social intensification; YMCA memberships tripled to 6,000 members and led to the library becoming one of the busiest in the system.