West Middlesex Memorial Centre Renovation & Expansion
Client : Township of Strathroy-Caradoc
Area : Existing: 31,250 sf Expansion: 12,000 sf
Program : Arena, Gymnasium, Dance Studio, Changerooms, Team Rooms
Completion : March 2011
An update and expansion of an existing arena, the West Middlesex Memorial Centre brings new vibrancy and accessibility to a beloved local landmark, and adds new programming to serve the surrounding community.
The Centre is located in Strathroy, Ontario—home to 12,000 residents in single-family homes, heritage buildings and infrastructure—and serves both the town and the surrounding low-density rural municipality, totalling 21,000 people. When the West Middlesex Memorial Arena opened in January of 1954, the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens marked the occasion with an exhibition game against the local junior ice hockey league in front of a crowd of 3,100 spectators. But the arena—today home to the Strathroy Rockets Canadian Junior Ice Hockey Team—was erected as a plain brick box with virtually no windows and no engagement with the outdoors, and had ceased to meet its community’s needs.
MJMA’s update to the Centre included renovations to the 31,250-square-foot arena—whose two-storey viewing area was completely reconstructed to bring it up to code—as well as to the existing change rooms for the Strathroy Rockets, now enlarged and enhanced to meet a more professional standard. The Centre was also expanded, with 12,000 square feet of new space turned over to a revitalized gymnasium with basketball courts, exercise studios, and new change rooms, as well as multipurpose rooms for community use.
Extending from the rear of the existing structure, this addition not only houses the new program spaces, but also acts as a vibrant new entryway. Cantilevered slightly above grade, the extension floats above a new entry plaza recessed below grade and accessed by steps or ramp, offering superior protection from the elements. This new entrance is enclosed entirely in glass and accommodates multiple sets of double doors for vastly improved access and transparency.
Above, the extension’s new volume incorporates generous glazing facing northeast and southeast, admitting daylight into the fitness studio and multipurpose rooms. The extension’s black metal cladding also extends to wrap around the front of the building, dramatically modernizing and improving the Centre’s presence on the main artery leading in and out of town.