Regent Park Aquatic Centre
Client : City of Toronto
Area : 28,000 sf
Program : 25m Lap Pool, Leisure Pool, Spa Pool, Slide, Tarzan Rope, Diving Boards, Multipurpose Community Room
Completion : September 2012
ISSUU Link : https://issuu.com/mjmarchitects/docs/rpac
Opened in 2012, the Aquatic Centre serves a dual purpose. First, it provides aquatic fitness, leisure, and therapeutic amenities to both Regent Park and the city at large, including a six-lane, 25-metre lap pool, zero-entry pool, tot pool, hot tub, waterslide, and other attractions, all supplemented by universal change rooms and multipurpose rooms. Just as importantly, the Centre is the central structure in one of North America’s largest urban redevelopment programs, a 12-year plan to turn a 28-hectare, 1940s-era housing project once isolated from the surrounding area into a vibrant mixed-used community fully integrated with the rest of the city—not only a local resource, but also a source of civic pride around which the redeveloped community would crystallize.
As a key element in Regent Park’s revitalization, the Centre’s connection to its neighbours is paramount. MJMA developed a linear program running along a north–south axis and organized around a “dorsal fin” of sky lights that project above the roofline and run the length of building, maximizing solar gain. The centre’s rectilinear form is informed by its role as a “pavilion in the park” embedded within an urban grid. To heighten the sense of being in an outdoor pool—keeping the Centre as transparent and inviting as possible—the structure is open at ground level: a low, continuous window runs the length of the building and overlooks a grassy park to the west, sliding doors off the aquatics hall provide natural ventilation and access to a parkside terrace, and a green roof creates the impression that the park settles across the building’s mass when viewed from above.
The Centre’s interior was designed with a clean and simple design calculated to be inviting to all of Regent Park’s culturally diverse residents—open, accessible, and well-lit. Unseen sustainability features, including water reclamation, high-efficiency mechanical and electrical systems, pool dehumidification with heat recovery, and natural lighting and ventilation, confirm the Centre to City of Toronto Green Development Standards. More visible gestures—notably universal change rooms and optional privacy swim screening—cater to the area’s broad immigrant community, and project the Centre’s function as a place for the entire community to come together. Community response has been overwhelming: the Centre saw 90,000 visitors within its first 12 months of operation.