Queens Place Emera Centre
Liverpool, Nova Scotia
Client : Region of Queens Municipality
Area : 53,800 sf
Program : Single-Pad Arena (Spectator Seating, Changerooms), Fitness Centre, Aerobics Studio, Indoor Track, Meeting Rooms,Youth Room, Community Hall, Concession, Administrative and Support Space
Completion : January 2012
Associated Architects : WHW (Now Architecture 49)
Serving as a town square and meeting place for Liverpool, a town of 2,650 people in South Shore Nova Scotia, Queens Place Emera Centre is a venue for tournaments, concerts, and other events that serve locals and draw visitors from out of town. Its site— in a heavily forested area of low-density commercial developments located across a river from the majority of the city—is highly visible from a nearby highway, helping to establish its identity.
MJMA’s brief was for a facility that would be highly multifunctional yet economical to construct, easy to navigate, and efficient to operate. The initial 80,000-square-foot interior program includes a 900-seat NHL-sized ice pad, walking track, fitness centre, community multipurpose rooms, and change rooms. This program—especially the change room area—was designed with a second phase in mind; this future expansion calls for an aquatics centre with a four-lane 25-metre lap pool, therapy pool, and leisure pool.
Externally, this is expressed in the form of two industrial sheds set next to each other, constructed from a basic material palette of precast tilt-up concrete panels and translucent polycarbonate glazing. This low-maintenance cladding floods most program areas with diffuse daylighting, lowering energy consumption, while other areas are fitted with occupancy light sensors. A single monoslope roof rises from the northeasterly landscape to meet a high façade facing the parking area and highway beyond it; when lit from within at night, this glowing façade is an unmistakable beacon. This larger volume contains the ice rink, topped by a truss ceiling and surrounded by clerestories.
A lower volume branching off the arena houses the main lobby, which—in contrast to the strikingly minimalist exterior—is finished with a warm palette of natural materials including raw and polished stone, as well as feature walls of wooden slats that nod to the town’s 19th-century history as a major exporter of timber. From this lobby, which forms the social heart of the Centre, visitors can take advantage of sightlines to all its major areas and activities.
For successfully providing Queens County with an admirable recreational, social, and cultural facility, the Centre was recognized in 2011 with a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of Merit in Architecture.