North Kawartha Community Centre
Client : Township of North Kawartha
Area : 52,000 sf
Program : Single-Pad Arena (Spectator Seating, Changerooms), Fitness Centre, Indoor Track, Multi-Purpose Rooms, Community Hall, Community Kitchen, Administrative and Support Spaces
The Community Centre is located at the heart of a community of 2,500 people on the eastern edge of Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park—a 375-square-kilometre swath of preserved wilderness and recreational areas that includes glacial rock outcroppings, mature forests, lakes, marshes, and bogs. As a gateway to the park and a focal point for the community, the Centre organizes indoor and outdoor spaces into a single multi-use destination.
Inside is a banquet hall, a broad concourse that doubles as a walking track, an arena—including an NHL-sized ice pad and seating for 400 spectators, as well as generous accessible change rooms—and a community hub including a fitness centre, multipurpose rooms and administrative offices for community organizers.
In this remote location, local vernacular materials and forms are primarily drawn from agricultural buildings: exposed wood or steel structures, galvanized metal roofing, large apertures and a heavy reliance on natural light and ventilation. The Centre’s exterior is in keeping with the modest, utilitarian nature of local architectural tradition, expressed in the form of a canted prism that evokes both a barn and a rock promontory. Into this mass is carved a deep rectangular courtyard that serves as an inviting cove, offering shade in summer and a windbreak in winter.
Local vernacular also informs the double-layered translucent polycarbonate wall system, which admits diffuse natural light into all major program areas—enough that public skating events can be conducted without the use of electric light. Additional glazing takes strategic advantage of orientation and shading, and of views in and out of the Centre.
In addition to its reliance on natural lighting, the Centre incorporates a range of measures designed to limit its environmental impact. A heat recovery system reclaims waste heat from the arena and distributes warmth throughout the building via in-floor pipes. A stormwater management system includes site grading, swales and on-site stormwater management to limit runoff into neighbouring water systems, while the Centre’s self-contained septic system places no additional load on the municipality. Similarly, water used for drinking and icemaking is drawn from an aquifer, and so has no impact on external water treatment facilities.
The completed Centre contributes greatly to the community’s everyday life—encouraging exercise, health and wellness, classes and social gatherings—as well as to special occasions like weddings and winter festivals.