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Project Details
Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex
Aurora, Ontario

Client : Town of Aurora
Area : 106,500 sf
Program : Aquatic Centre (8-Lane 25m Lap Pool, 2-Lane 25m Fitness Pool, Leisure Pool, Changerooms), Twin-Pad Arena (Spectator Seating, Changerooms), Café, Pro-Shop, Administrative and Support Spaces
Completion : September 2006
Associated Architects : NORR
An all-season ice, aquatics, and children’s programming facility in a mid-sized town in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex serves a region still in development. Located just off a major east–west artery, the Complex is bordered by a masterplanned recreational park and a wooded river basin. It is situated to use this topography to its best advantage by creating a direct relationship to the site’s natural features and to accommodate future expansion as the community grows.
 
Much of the interior program is turned over to twin-pad skating rinks topped by a pre-engineered roof ringed with clerestories—a cost-effective way to create an environment of abundant low-glare daylight—and their corresponding change rooms. The remainder of the 106,500-square-foot program comprises an aquatics hall with an eight-lane lap pool, a teaching pool, a leisure pool with a slide, and men’s, women’s, and family change rooms and administration, as well as a children’s program area, main lobby, offices, pro-shop, and café.
 
These elements are positioned with the ice pads side by side on the north end of the building; at the opposite end, the aquatics hall looks south toward the highway and east onto the entry and parking plaza via a towering curtain wall. This expanse of glazing incorporates fritted sheets and solar blade panels that—along with a deep overhanging canopy supported by instantly recognizable V-shaped supports—give the structure a clear identity. The same canopy also creates a public verandah space at the entry plaza.
 
The Complex was designed to meet the requirements of both the community groups it serves and the client, for whom cost effectiveness and speed of delivery were chief concerns. The latter were achieved through a combination of pre-engineered and custom modular structural and cladding systems. Site orientation, presentation, and the functional requirements of the spaces inside strategically shaped the arrangements of roofs and windows.
 
The extreme combination of water and ice environments was handled with coordinated envelope systems, and made still more efficient through the use of heat pumps that reclaim waste heat for use in the aquatic zones and in radiant floors. All the Complex’s programmatic areas and activities—including the pool basins, change rooms, and public amenities—are fully accessible.